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In concluding let me say that we are now but on the threshold of the coming era 
of true cooperation. The time is fast going by for the great personal or individ- 
ual achievement of any one man standing alone and without the help of those 
around him. And the time is coming when all great things will be done by the 
cooperation of many men in which each man performs that function for whict 
he is best suited, each man preserves his individuality and is supreme in his par- 
ticular function, and each man at the same time loses none of his originality and 
proper personal initiative, and yet is controlled by and must work harmoniously 
with many other men. 

Taylor, On the Art of Cutting Metals 

The Chairman: Mr. Taylor, do you believe that any system of scientific manage- 
ment induced by a desire for greater profits would revolutionize the minds of the 
employers to such an extent that they would immediately, voluntarily and gen- 
erally enforce the golden rule.? 

Mr. Taylor: If they had any sense, they would. 

Hearings in 19 12 before Special Investigating 
Committee of House of Representatives 

Frederich^ IV. Taylor 















IN 191 1, when John Fritz, that most beloved of old-school 
engineers, was bringing out his autobiography, Taylor 
wrote to him apropos of this: " I think no book is more 
stimulating than the history of a devoted and successful life." 
It was thoroughly characteristic of Taylor, however, that he 
refused even to take steps to facilitate the preparation of a bi- 
ography of himself after he was gone. On at least two occa- 
sions it was suggested to him, but his only response was a 

For various reasons, not the least of which was the complex 
nature of Taylor's work, the preparation of his biography has 
offered difficulties such as the writer could not have coped with 
unaided j and it needs to be strongly brought out that, besides 
having had the advantages of access to Mr. Taylor's corre- 
spondence and papers and the full cooperation of Mr. Taylor's 
relatives, friends, and professional associates in general, the 
writer all along has had the support and counsel of a Committee 
consisting of Mrs. Taylor and Messrs. Sanford E. Thompson, 
Morris L. Cooke, and Edward W. Clark, 3rd, with Dr. Har- 
low S. Person, managing director of the Taylor Society, serv- 
ing as a sort of informal but none the less important and ex- 
ceedingly helpful member. The writer, in fact, is indebted 
to Dr. Person for far more in the way of valuable suggestions 
than can here be well stated. 

To mention all the others from whom the writer has re- 
ceived courtesies in the course of this work, would be to draw 
up a list containing scores of names 3 and while the necessity of 
thanking them in blanket form is to be regretted, it is hoped 
they will realize that the thanks are very sincere and hearty. 



Special mention must surely be made of the three engineers 
who, with Mr. Cooke and Mr. Thompson, formed the group 
that was so intimately associated with Mr. Taylor. Though 
the untimely death of Mr. Henry L. Gantt occurred while the 
preparation of this biography was in progress, the writer had 
the benefit of several talks with him. Being in a position to 
make a large contribution, Mr. Horace K. Hathaway met with 
unfailing courtesy the demands upon his time which this in- 
volved. Then there is Mr. Carl G. Earth j let it not be 
thought that because he is mentioned last, his contribution was 
among the least. Upon his store of fact and philosophy the 
writer drew almost continually throughout the work, and this 
especially in connection with the more technical parts. 

It is to be feared that the foregoing statement of the writer's 
indebtedness to others in general is wholly inadequate. At the 
same time, it is to be recognized that for all statements in this 
work, as well as the general manner of their presentation, 
the writer is solely responsible. 




The Author's Acknowledgments v 

A Foreword by the Author xiii 

Prologue 3 



I. The Taylor and Winslow Families 23 

II. Frederick Taylor's Parents 43 

III. The Boy Fred 55 

IV. How he did not Become a Lawyer 69 

V. He Enters Industry 77 

VI. His Call to go on in Industry 86 


I. The Industrial World in 1878 97 

II. Far-Advanced Midvale 106 

III. Taylor's Rise at Midvale 116 

IV. His Success as a Subordinate 125 

V= His Success as a Subordinate (Concluded) 138 

VI. His Executive Temperament 148 

VII. His Fight with his Men 157 

VIII. His Hold upon his Men 165 

IX. His Hold upon his Men {Concluded) 178 

X. His Work as a Mechanical Engineer 190 


I. The " Systematic Soldiering " he had to Overcome . . . 205 

II. First Steps in Applying Science to Management 216 

III. Origin and Nature of Time Study 223 

IV. Beginning his Metal-Cutting Investigation 237 

V. Limit of Metal-Cutting Progress at Midvale 246 

VI. From Experimentation to Standardization 253 




Vll. Leading Features of his Svstemization 263 

VIII. Organization Previous to Taylor 274 

IX. Taylor's Functional Organization 284 

X. The Functional Principle and the General Manager. . 294 

XI. Taylor's Wage Principles and Methods 304 

XII. Towards Industrial Democracy 314 

XIII. Good-bye to Midvale 332 


I. The Genius of Taylor's System 345 

II. Analysis and Classification as a Basis for Control 351 

III. Accounting made Contributory to Control 363 

IV. With Mr. Whitney's Company 372 

V. He Starts a New Profession 386 

VI. His First Statement of his System 397 

VII. The Thorny Path of the Reformer 416 

VIII. At Cramp's Shipyards 429 

IX. Various Work for Various Clients 445 

X. In the Simonds Shop 456 




Frederick Winslow Taylor Frontisfiece ^ 

Genealogy of Frederick Winslow Taylor 27 

An Early Family Group 32 

Franklin Taylor 48 

Emily Winslow Taylor 49 

Frederick W. Taylor 62 

Four portraits in childhood and youth 

" Fred " Taylor and his Brother and Sister 63 

" Fred " Taylor as " Miss Lillian Gray " 90 

An impersonation in amateur theatricals 

William Sellers 108 

Taylor in his Midvale Days 109 

Taylor's Spoon-Handle Racqitet 144 

Tai-lor's Famovs Steam Hammer 196 

An Early Taylor Form 230 

Showing the division of an operation into its unit elements. 

Midvale, 1887. 
An Early Taylor Form 256 

A "time note" for machine work. Midvale, about 1885. 
An Early Taylor Form 257 

Showing that Taylor early standardized clerical operations. 

Midvale, about 1885. 
An Early Taylor Form 260 

Showing provision for the maintenance of standard conditions. 

Midvale, about 1885. 
An Early Taylor Form 261 

Showing provision for the maintenance of standard conditions. 

Midvale, about 1885. 
Making Standard Practice a Matter of Record 2~o 

" Duties of clerk when boilers are to be cleaned." Midvale, 

about 1885. 




Making Standard Practice a Matter of Record 271 

"Method of oiling machines." Midvale, about 1885. 

Pioneer Purchasing by Specification 446 

Ridiculing the New 447 

A trade paper's response to purchase by specification in 1894. 


Among the names of those who have led the great advance of the industrial arts 
during the past thirty years, that of Frederick Winslow Taylor will hold an 
increasingly high place. Others have led in electrical development, in the steel 
industry, in industrial chemistry, in railroad equipment, in the textile arts, 
and in many other fields, but he has been the creator of a new science, which 
underlies and will benefit all of these others by greatly increasing their efficiency 
and augmenting their productivity. In addition, he has literally forged a new 
tool for the metal trades, which has doubled, or even trebled, the productive 
capacity of nearly all metal-cutting machines. Either achievement would entitle 
him to high rank among the notable men of his day; — the two combined give 
him an assured place among the world's leaders in the industrial arts. . . . 
Others without number have been organizers of industry and commerce, each 
working out, with greater or less success, the solution of his own problems, but 
none perceiving that many of these problems involved common factors and thus 
implied the opportunity and the need of an organized science. Mr. Taylor was 
the first to grasp this fact and to perceive that in this field, as in the physical 
sciences, the Baconian system could be applied, that a practical science could 
be created by following the three principles of that system, viz.: the correct 
and complete observation oi facts, the intelligent and unbiased analysis of such 
facts, and the formulating of laws by deduction from the results so reached. 
Not only did he comprehend this fundamental conception and apply it; he 
also grasped the significance and possibilities of the problem so fully that his 
codification of the fundamental principles of the system he founded is prac- 
tically complete and will be a lasting monument to its founder. 

Henry R. Towne, 

Chairman of the Board of the Yale ^ 
Towne Manufacturing Company, and past 
president of the American Society of Mechan- 
ical Engineers 


Largely in the Nature of a Review of the 
Facts which Make the Subject of this Biog- 
raphy a World Figure. 

IN the latter part of the eighteenth century, the steam 
engine, by furnishing the power previously lacking, stim- 
ulated the development of mightier and mightier machine- 
tools, and so precipitated a revolutionary change in our West- 
ern civilization. 

In that part of the nineteenth century represented by the 
i88o's, this development of machine-tools reached a point 
marking the real beginning of large-scale production as we 
know it to-day. 

Since this our modern or large-scale form of industry be- 
gan, the man who has influenced it most fundamentally is 
Frederick Winslow Taylor, who was born in Philadelphia in 
1856, and who died in that city in 191 5. Underlying and 
shaping for good or ill all the features of industry is manage- 
ment 5 and Taylor was the inaugurator and father of, as well 
as chief worker in, the movement to impart excellence to 
management by viewing it as an art based on scientific prin- 
ciples. Universal in scope, his work long since has penetrated 
to every country where modern industry is established, and 
it is probable that in these countries there is no person who has 
not in some degree been affected by it, however unconsciously. 

With him the thing of major importance was his general 
principles. Of these the first and greatest was that of de- 
termining all questions on a basis of fact as revealed by an 
expert and thorough investigation j and his work in the metal- 


cutting field, which was forced on him in consequence of his 
purpose to place machine-shop management on a scientific basis, 
remains the classic example of what such investigations can 
mean to industry and, through industry, to us all. Says Henry 
R. Towne: 

Under the magic influence of Frederick W. Taylor's genius, the 
art of cutting metals, which underlies all the metal industries, made 
a greater advance than during the previous ages since the days of 
Tubal Cain. In no other field of research that I can recall has in- 
vestigation, starting from so lovi^ a point, attained so high a level as the 
result of a single continued effort. 

That Taylor in all his investigating was not only scientifi- 
cally thorough but exceptionally so, will appear from the com- 
ment on his paper of 1906 On the Art of Cutting Metals made 
by that distinguished Frenchman, Henri Le Chatelier, member 
of the Academy, professor of chemistry in the Sorbonne, re- 
cipient of the Bessemer medal, father of exact high-tempera- 
ture measurements, and director of Revue de Metallurgiey the 
leading organ of the French iron and steel industry: 

The near future v^^ill show us the service which has been rendered 
to the mechanical arts by this generous publication of researches pur- 
sued with such uncommon perseverance. 

But even now we can admire without reserve the scientific method 
which has controlled this whole work. It is an example unique in the 
history of the mechanic arts. We have all admired the researches 
of Sir Lothian Bell, on blast furnaces, and those of Sir William 
Siemens on the regenerative furnace; but notwithstanding the high 
scientific value of the work of these two great engineers, on reading 
their papers neither of them leaves an impression on the mind which 
can be compared with that of Mr. Taylor's paper. It is a model 
which every young engineer will have to study. 

We believers in the scientific study of the arts have all been teaching 
our students that in investigating practical problems it is necessary, 
first, to accurately determine and define the various factors which 


enter into the problem; then to classify these factors according to 
the degree of their importance, and lastly, to study the effect of each 
of these factors as variables independently. But when we see how 
little respect is shown to these principles even in the laboratories of 
pure science; when we see the sovereign contempt with which they 
are treated by every technical man, we come sometimes to doubt our 
own teaching, and to ask ourselves whether after all we are not teach- 
ing our young men wrong methods. 

And yet, the systematic application of these very methods — no- 
body can deny it any longer — has been preparing during all these 
years to transform machine shop practice from the domain of rule 
of thumb to that of exact science. The scientific method is now 
about to receive the crown which it deserves, thanks to the generous 
publication of the President [as Taylor then was] of the American 
Society of Mechanical Engineers. 

One of the dramatic incidents of Taylor's metal-cutting in- 
vestigation was the discovery of high-speed tool steel j and 
what all who are familiar with the subject know is that this 
discovery has made it possible to increase machine-shop cutting 
feeds and speeds, and thereby production, from two to four 
or more times. One engineer has referred to it as a discovery 
" which is, at a very conservative estimate, worth fifty million 
dollars per year to the machine industry of this country." ^ 
We also read that "by means of these high-speed tools the 
United States during the World War was able to turn out five 
times the munitions that it otherwise could have done in the 
same time. On the other hand, if Germany alone had pos- 
sessed the secret of the modern steels no power could have 
withstood her." ^ 

It has been well said that the really great thing about all 
of Taylor's investigations was not the information they yielded 

■^ Forrest E. Cardullo, Industrial Administration and Scientific Management; 
reprinted from Machinery in Scientific Management, Clarence Bertrand Thomp- 
son, p. 62. 

2 Edwin E. Slosson, Creative Chemistry, p. 280. 


by itself considered, but the demonstration they gave of the 
economic gain to be derived from management's waking up 
to its own functions and establishing standard practice based 
on the scientific method. Hardly would it be possible, we be- 
lieve, to exaggerate the influence Taylor has had in the general 
way of arousing industrial management. But while all things 
indicate that his place in history is broadly to rest on the 
demonstration his work afforded of the applicability of the 
scientific method to management, it would be an egregious 
error to consider that his permanent contribution is limited to 
this broad service. 

While he recognized that principles are of major importance 
because in them is the philosophy, the spirit, the life, he also 
recognized that it is system which gives body to principles, that 
enables them to work. And being as intensely practical as he 
was scientific, he, even while his principles still were actuating 
him more or less as " propulsions from the unconscious," 
worked out definite methods and mechanisms for their embodi- 
ment, and at length so coordinated these methods and mechan- 
isms as to form of them a coherent and logical, if highly flex- 
ible, system. 

The grand ends to which this system is all directed may here 
be defined as (i) the determination of best or standard ways, 
implements, and materials by scientific investigation and ex- 
perimentation, and (2) a control so extensive and intensive 
as to provide for the maintenance of all standards in this 
way reached. 

By others (its father himself objected to its being branded 
with his name) this system is commonly called the Taylor 
System of Scientific Management, or, more briefly, the Taylor 

Though the comprehensive programme it represents is still 
far from being understood in its entirety, it is the fact that 
the principles, methods, and mechanisms bound up in it have 


to-day become, in all enlightened quarters, the standard by 
which the merit of management is judged. 

A conspicuous example of this is afforded by the course of the 
Committee on Elimination of Waste in Industry, appointed in 
1 92 1 by Herbert Hoover in his capacity as president of the 
Federated American Engineering Societies. Confronted by 
the need of a " standard method of investigation," the Com- 
mittee " prepared an analysis of those factors and operations 
in industry in which waste might be expected to be discovered, 
provided a comparison was made between average practice and 
the best known practice," and even a casual glance at the 
" Guide Questions for Field Workers " which were the out- 
come of this analysis shows that the Committee accepted Tay- 
lor's leading principles, methods, and mechanisms as consti- 
tuting the " best known practice," at least as regards things 
designed to remedy " low production caused by faulty manage- 
ment of materials, plant, equipment, and men." ^ As the 
majority of the committee of seventeen engineers named by 
Mr. Hoover were either Taylor's direct disciples or old-time 
close students of his work, this is what might have been ex- 
pected j but it is significant that the Committee should, in the 
first place, have been made up in this way. 

Another significant thing is that when industrial engineers 
and plant executives who sincerely believe they are opposed 
to " Taylorism " come to present the details of their work 
in management, they show that, in the measure that they are 
progressive, they have drawn directly, if unconsciously, upon 
Taylor philosophy and technic — a fact which seemingly may 
be largely explained by their being readers of the technical 

^ Besides this " aspect of waste in industry," the Committee investigated 
" interrupted production caused by idle men, idle materials, idle plants, idle 
equipment"; "restricted production intentionally caused by owners, manage- 
ment or labor," and " lost production caused by ill health, physical defects 
and industrial accidents." See Waste in Industry, McGraw-Hill Book Company, 
New York. 


press, in which for years the main devices of management de- 
scribed and advocated have been those of Taylor, even while 
they seldom have been presented as such. 

Frequently Taylor's name has been suppressed in connection 
with his originations and developments because of the acri- 
monious controversy aroused in his latter years by certain 
features of his work. Again, he himself had little or no in- 
terest in claiming originality in anything j with him the im- 
portant question always was, not who originated the thing, 
but what was the thing worthy and from 1901, when he de- 
cided that he " no longer could afford to work for money," 
until his death fourteen years later, he gave lavishly of his 
experience and thinking, not only in the broad way represented 
by his papers and platform addresses, but also in the highly 
detailed way represented by his consultations with the hun- 
dreds of persons who sought him out at his home and were con- 
ducted by him through the neighboring plants where his sys- 
tem was to be seen in actual operation. 

All in all, it is not strange that, while many of his contribu- 
tions to the pure technic of management have now entered into 
the very warp and woof of modern management properly so 
called, they usually have gone unrecognized as his handiwork. 

A very interesting fact in this connection is that, while de- 
veloping his general system, he was forced to become a pioneer 
in the development of modern industrial accounting, taking up 
this study in the early 1890's when the general practice of ac- 
counting in industry was of the crudest, and working out a 
technic which, as regards some of its features, chiefly those re- 
lating to the highly important matter of costs, is only begin- 
ning to be appreciated by professional accountants as a group 
and by the industrial world as a whole. Yet the mere fact that 
Taylor added to his other achievements those of an expert ac- 
countant will astonish many persons well acquainted with his 
general engineering work. 


In person he was unable to extend his system beyond the 
shop. It was not that his vision was here limited, but that the 
specific things involved in his systemization of the shop, as 
notably in the case of his metal-cutting investigation, made it a 
task so heroic that, after accomplishing it, he hardly could have 
done much else than call attention to it and leave it to others 
to extend the principle of the thing. Since his death great 
strides have been made in extending his grand objects of fact 
determination and of control to departments other than manu- 
facturing or fabricating, notably selling, and to the enterprise 
as a whole. And this, we believe, is rightly called the most 
significant development in industry to-day on the score of the 
pure technic of management. 

Of course there is much more to management than its strictly 
technical or engineering side. There is. the human side, or 
that which has to do with the selection, placement, training, 
and general spirit pertaining to the treatment of employees — 
in fine, with all those factors of organization which now are 
summed up in the -personnel movement, the promise of which 
hardly can be overestimated, seeing that it is the outcome, not 
merely of a growing recognition of the fact that the payment 
of even the best wages cannot by itself bring the best out of 
men, but of a suspicion, which seems to be making its way up to 
the level of the fully conscious, that righteous human rela- 
tions may not be inconsistent with the practical, and that the 
ethical may not be incompatible with the economic. Here 
again Taylor was a bold originator and pioneer worker j per- 
ceiving nearly forty years ago, or in the middle i88o's, that 
men, too, should be studied, he established the " hiring and 
firing " of employees as a separate function of management 
and confided it to an official who was the direct forerunner of 
the ultra-modern personnel manager. 

The truth is that the human side was to Taylor the one of 
far superior importance. We shall see, in fact, that all his 


work in developng a system- of scientific management was the 
direct outcome of his purpose to find a remedy for the labor 
problem that grew up coincidentally with and in consequence 
of the development of large-scale production. And as he ad- 
dressed himself to this problem in the i88o's when large-scale 
production was beginning, it may be said that this problem 
hardly had appeared when his work on its solution was begun. 

That his general message was indeed one of universal im- 
port, is indicated by the promptness and extensiveness with 
which his papers. Shop Management (1903), On the Art of 
Cutting Metals (1906), and The Principles of Scientific Marir- 
agement ( 1 9 1 1 ) were translated into other languages. In the 
case of his last paper we find that, within two years of its 
book publication by Harper & Brothers, it had been translated 
into French, German, Dutch, Swedish, Russian, Lettish, Ital- 
ian, Spanish, and Japanese. In each case the translation was 
undertaken on his own initiative by some native or resident 
of the country where the language concerned was spoken. And 
after its author's death there came to this country a copy of 
The Principles translated into Chinese by a Chinese. 

Curious in many of its aspects is the way individuals and 
governments in other lands have turned to the work of this 
man who was an American in the sense that his ancestors on 
both his father's side and his mother's were born on American 
soil since the earliest colonial days. 

Hardly, for example, could there be imagined two more dis- 
similar governments than that of the French Republic and that 
of Soviet Russia, as these existed in 191 8 and later. As re- 
gards most particulars of political and economic theory and 
ideal, they represented antipodes of thought. Yet in the early 
part of 191 8, when the World War still was carrying on its 
perfect work of destruction and woe, these governments be- 
came conscious of a common need, and to meet it each took up 
the Taylor System. 


The French Republic called this need that o£ "realizing 
the maximum of economy in labor." Soviet Russia called it 
that of bringing about " the highest productivity of labor." 

Previous to 191 8, the French Ministry of War had taken 
steps toward the adoption in the plants under its control of 
various features of the Taylor System. In a circular dated 
February 26, 191 8, and signed by Georges Clemenceau, the 
Ministry pointed out that there was " an imperative necessity 
that all the Heads of Military Establishments should turn to 
the study and application of methods of work suitable to the 
exigencies of the moment," and it went on to direct attention 
to that basic principle of " Taylorism " which it described as 
" the employment in every kind of work of the minimum of 
labor through scientific research into the most advantageous 
methods of procedure in each particular case." With this 
end in view, the Ministry ordered that " in every plant or, at 
least, in each type of plant " there be created a Planning De- 
partment, this being the central feature of the mechanism of 
the Taylor System. And the Ministry recommended that the 
" Heads of Plants and their Planning Departments " should 
consult various works in which the Taylor System was de- 

Unlike the French Government, whose control of manufac- 
turing plants was limited to those of the military establishment, 
the Russian Soviet Government had, in the name of the pro- 
letariat, assumed the control as well as " expropriated " the 
ownership of all the plants within its political jurisdiction. In 
its issue of April 28, 191 8, Pravda^ the official Soviet organ, 
published a long article by N. Lenin on " The Urgent Prob- 

^ These were specified as follows: i. Princifles of Scientific Management, 
F. W. Taylor; 2. Scientific Organization, extract from Revue de Metallurgie, 
Vol. 12, April, 1915, Dunod and Piat, publishers; 3. Taylorism, by Victor 
Cambon, Nancienne Press, Nancy; 4. T//e Taylor System, Extract from Bul- 
letin des Amis de VEcole Poly technique, Henri Le Chatelier, Dunod and Piat, 


lems of the Soviet Rule," and under the heading, " Higher 
Productivity of Labor," Lenin wrote: 

We should immediately introduce piece work and try it out in 
practice. We should try out every scientific and progressive suggestion 
of the Taylor System. . . . The Russian is a poor worker in com- 
parison with the advanced nations, and this could not be otherwise 
under the regime of the Czar and other remnants of feudalism. To 
learn how to work — this problem the Soviet authority should present 
to the people in all its comprehensiveness. The last word of capitalism 
in this respect, the Taylor System, as well as all progressive meas- 
ures of capitalism, combined the refined cruelty of bourgeois exploita- 
tion and a number of most valuable scientific attainments in the an- 
alysis of mechanical motions during work, in dismissing superfluous 
and useless motions, in determining the most correct methods of work, 
the best systems of accounting and control, etc. The Soviet Republic 
must adopt valuable and scientific technical advance in this field. 
The possibility of socialism will be determined by our success in 
combining the Soviet rule and the Soviet organization of manage- 
ment with the latest progressive measures of capitalism. We must 
introduce in Russia the study and teaching of the new Taylor System 
and its systematic trial and adaptation. 

Incidentally it may be asked how it was in World War times 
with the government of Taylor's own country. In the winter 
of 1 9 14-15, the Congress of these United States of America 
attached to all appropriation bills riders especially designed 
to cripple the Taylor System in the government establishments 
that already had adopted it — that is, the manufacturing 
arsenals — and to prevent its adoption, at least as far as its 
direct application to labor was concerned, in other government 

This looks like a clear case of a prophet's not being without 
honor from governments save in his own country j and it is 
the fact that while every American Congress since 19.14 has 
continued to legislate against the Taylor System in the way we 


have just mentioned, the persons who steadily come here from 
Western Europe to study this system continue to include many 
government officials.^ 

It also is the fact that Taylor's work is far more widelyy 
if not better, known abroad than here, this being especially true 
of France. In September, 191 7, when sending a dispatch from 
Paris to The Evening Post of New York about the arrival of 
the first American troops in France, Norman Hapgood said: 
" One finds * Taylorism,' rather freely interpreted, brought 
up in connection with the efficiency shown at the American 
camp. Taylorism, indeed, has become more a French word 
than an American word. Essayists on public affairs are ad- 
dicted to it." A conspicuous example of the French interest 
in " Taylorism " is the Foundation Michelin, which, endowed 
by Edouvard Michelin, president of Michelin & Cie, seeks to 
promote the investigation of Scientific Management and the 
Taylor System by courses in the higher technical colleges of 
France, by courses of public lectures, and by sending young 
engineers to the United States to study management methods. 
In Vienna, again, we now find a periodical entitled Taylor- 

However, outside of comparatively small circles principally 
made up of technical men, misapprehension of Taylor's work 
has everywhere been more common than apprehension. In the 
minds of the general public here and abroad it is likely to be 
viewed simply as some new kind of a wage system, or all too 
frequently vulgarized by being associated with loose, crude, 
and sordid notions of what constitutes efficiency. Even in tech- 
nical circles it is common for men who appreciate some features 
of Taylor's work to fail to understand other features. Any 

•^ The study given to Taylor's work by foreigners and its teaching at 
Harvard, Dartmouth, and the University of Pennsylvania as mentioned a little 
later in the text, may be taken as pointing to the very interesting fact that 
Taylor is the only man who ever has worked out a definite philosophy of 
management and a logical, coherent system of general applicability. 


comprehension of his work, or grasp of it as a whole, is rare; 
this being exemplified by the way various of his mechanisms 
are adopted without any conception of the part they play in 
his general scheme. 

Under all the circumstances, this failure to comprehend is 
just what might be expected. 

Though management engineering long since has been offi- 
cially recognized by the American Society of Mechanical Engi- 
neers, the science of management is one that still is struggling 
for general recognition. When Taylor began in the early 
i88o's, it was not generally recognized, at least in this country, 
that there could be even such a science as that of mechanical 
engineering. Empiricism and rule of thumb were here the 
general things; and the fact is that no more in Europe than 
here had any real attempt been made to base the art of manage- 
ment on scientific principles, or view management as " seeking, 
coordinating, arranging, and systematizing knowledge, and by 
observation, comparison, abstraction, and generalization de- 
ducing laws." Hence Taylor began with neither a shred of 
theory nor vestige of technic to guide him. These he had to 
establish, modify, and develop under the influence of accumu- 
lating experience in the course of his practical work as man- 
ager and engineer. 

Dealing with a new science, he naturally found the diffi- 
culties of teaching it immense; and while his general system of 
management several years before his death received specific ac- 
ademic recognition at Harvard, Dartmouth, and the Univer- 
sity of Pennsylvania, and continues to be taught in the business 
schools of those institutions, it still remains true that he who 
would follow Taylor in the practice of this science must de- 
pend far more on his capacity to develop on his own account 
than upon any guidance he can receive from history and theory. 

As a matter of fact, Taylor died without leaving behind 
him any adequate statement of his life work. Loving to do 


things, he hated to write about them. The papers in which he 
forced himself to attempt the exposition of his principles and 
methods, while able as far as they went, never encompassed his 
thinking and his achievement. Under the lash of his imperi- 
ous will, he mastered an exceptionally lucid, concise, and vig- 
orous style, but his power of expression remained decidedly 
limited. Dealing from his earliest youth with general prin- 
ciples and laws, and living more and more in their vision, he 
never acquired skill in their formulation. He was born a seer, 
but was not a born sayer. His temperament, one of extraordi- 
nary intensity, served him admirably in his capacity as execu- 
tive j it gave him extraordinary power to arouse and inspire 
others J at the same time, it stood in the way of his attaining 
excellence as an expositor of his own thinking j he was likely 
to state things in a temperamental way, and thus leave impres- 
sions that did both himself and his work injustice. He has 
been called the beau ideal of a scientific investigatory no form 
of charlatanism could find any lodgment in himj yet along 
with his intensely scientific bent went not only great practicality, 
but also great amiability and sociability, and this, together 
with a marked instinct for the dramatic, inclined him to over- 
popularize his expositions, or over-adapt them to his immediate 
audience and the passing scene. 

True, he often was not without large success in explaining 
various details of his work, as notably in his monumental 
treatise On the Art of Cutting Metals and when he lectured 
at Harvard. Even so, the fact remains that he died without 
having attempted any systematic statement of his work as a 

Now, of course, a biography is the history, not of a science 
or of a movement, but of " the life of a particular person "j 
and it may be said that Taylor's life should prove an inspira- 
tion to everyone, even those who think they have (and in this 
they surely are mistaken) no interest in industry and its tre- 


mendous problems. Certainly in beginning this work the 
writer found ready for such skill in depiction as might be his 
a unique personality, a wholly unprecedented human being, 
a remarkably lovable, if easily misunderstood, character, and 
a wonderfully romantic career. There, indeed, was a world 
figure. The world, as you viewed it in the large, did not 
know it. But the world would. 

At the same time, the writer was confronted by the fact 
that perhaps nine-tenths of Taylor's activities were, from his 
early youth, devoted to the single object of developing and 
propagating his system of Scientific Management. And this, 
as we have seen, was no case of a scientist whose science was 
well known. Quite on the contrary. Furthermore, the writer 
had to consider that, in building up that which was his life 
work, Taylor exemplified a marvelous attention to detail. In 
fact, it was peculiarly his genius that he saw the importance of 
details which were commonly — aye, universally — over- 
looked or neglected. Hence the story of Taylor, to be true, 
not only had to reflect his concentration on a single object, 
while so interpreting this object as to meet the prevailing 
lack of comprehension in this connection, but also to reflect his 
attention to detail. 

As it was the writer's task to present a history of Taylor's 
life, in distinction to his life work, he has not, to be sure, felt 
called upon to deal exhaustively, or even extensively, with 
those details of Taylor's life work which are purely technical. 
In point of fact, the story of the development of the details 
of Scientific Management is sometimes more the story of one 
of Taylor's associates than of Taylor himself j he from the be- 
ginning having shown the true executive instinct in employing 
others, preferably those with forms of ability supplementing 
his own, to 'put through the details and thus leave his own 
mind free for the general direction. On the whole, the writer 
has concerned himself mainly with Taylor's principles and phi- 


losophy. Yet he necessarily had to deal with many of the 
larger details to illustrate the principles, and with many of 
the smaller ones to indicate Taylor's grasp of them. 

Another thing here to be brought out is that, to take a correct 
and just view of Taylor's life, was to recognize that the stress 
must all be placed on his thinking. True, his life was not 
spent in laboratory or study. He lived amidst the carrying out 
and the carrying on of things. And he had in more particulars 
than one the true executive instinct. Like Napoleon's, his 
action was as prompt as his thought. When he had thought a 
thing out, it was the signal for him to engage in a struggle, 
no matter against what odds, to bring the thing to pass in the 
every-day, workaday world. He jubilated in his will to get 
there. And surely his adventures were none the less stirring 
for being encountered, not among " antres vast, and deserts 
idle, rough quarries, rocks and hills whose heads touch heaven," 
but among the fiery furnaces, the throbbing engines, and the 
ponderous, grinding machinery in the mighty workshops of 
modern Vulcan. Here, too, can a man's story be one of 
" battles, sieges, fortunes ... of most disastrous chances, of 
moving accidents." He struggled valiantly, and considering 
the opposition he needs must encounter, his achievement was 
great. Nevertheless, what he achieved was not so important or 
so significant as what he failed to achieve. It has been said 
that a man's reach should exceed his grasp, else what's a heaven 
for? That Taylor reached straight out for an industrial 
heaven must be conceded as you are willing to concede that the 
first law of heaven is order. And that surely was the im- 
portant thing — the thinking that inspired this reaching out, 
that went to make up this ideal. 

Do not we here have the language of enthusiasm, and do not 
the latest fashions in biographies all tend toward Detachment? 
It would be idle for the writer to pretend that he was anything 
but very warmly attached both to the person of Frederick W. 


Taylor and to his work. But, while putting the reader on 
his guard against this, he may point out that perhaps, after all, 
there is something in the old, old principle that only through 
sympathy comes insight, and only through love, understanding. 
It is certain that — consciously, at all events — the writer has 
had in mind only the single aim of presenting the facts, saying 
the true word, making the just estimate, and offering the cor- 
rect interpretation. 

In closing it is submitted that, as they, too, come to learn 
the facts about Taylor and his work, those readers who have 
the imagination to see and the heart to feel must have their 
pulses quickened also. Hint of the reason of this already has 
been given in what has been said of the hundreds of persons 
interested in management who journeyed to Taylor's home — 
the home in Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia, which he called 
Boxly. In the past pilgrimages had been made to shrines 
formed by the homes of great thinkers, great seers, great 
teachers J men of elemental force, of great vital power. Such 
pilgrimages as those to Goethe at Weimar, and to Tolstoi at 
Yasnaya Polynana. These men were of the kingdom of litera- 
ture. Now, for the first time, pilgrimages were made to 
the home of a man who was of the kingdom of industry. Yet 
was the object of the pilgrims the samej namely, to absorb 
wisdom and perhaps even more to be warmed, heartened, and 
inspired by the elemental force, the great vital power. And 
is it extravagant to say that here appears the prophecy of a new 
industrial order? 

Consider what was, and is, at the basis of all Taylor's work. 
It all began, as every form of science has begun, not in ob- 
servation alone, but in observation governed by deliberation. 
It is for want of deliberate thought that all of our industrial 
ills and labor problems have come upon us. " To make any- 
thing the object of thought," says Ralph Waldo Emerson, 
" is to raise it." 


War, which was once essential and necessary for cultural progress, has lost this sig- 
nificance and has become the most dangerous enemy of civilization. Wars no 
longer measure stages of progress; inventions now perform that function. The 
decisive battles of mankind for freedom and power are fought today on the labor 
front. . . . 

Socialism mistakes Europe's problem when it imagines that our fundamental evil is 
unjust distribution instead of inadequate production. . . . The truth is that 
only a trifling fraction of the product of European labor goes to provide the 
luxuries of capitalists. The greater part of that product is employed in convert- 
ing a sterile continent into a fertile continent, a cold climate into a warm cli- 
mate, and in maintaining under these artificial conditions a vast population that 
the natural resources of Europe could not feed. 

Winter and overpopulation are sterner and more cruel despots than all the cruel 
capitalists in the world. Politicians and labor leaders are not Europe's true 
leaders in combating these evils. The true champions of the masses in this 
revolution are our engineers and inventors. . . . 

The ultimate end of technical progress is to provide every man with the comforts and 
conveniences that are to-day reserved for millionaires. Therefore the inventor 
and the engineers are fighting want and poverty; they are not fighting wealth. 
They are fighting slavery; they are not fighting rulers. Their object is to uni- 
versalize wealth, power, leisure, beauty, happiness. Their ideal is not to make 
all mankind a proletariat, but to make it an aristocracy. . . . 

Ethics and technics are sisters. Ethics rules the natural forces within us. Technics 
rules the natural forces without us. Both seek to subjugate nature by spirit. . . . 

Neither ethics nor technics alone can redeem the man of the North; for half-starved, 
half-frozen men can be neither fed nor warmed by ethics; nor can evil and avari- 
cious men be protected from each other or made contented by technics. ... It 
is in our continent that ethics and technics most completely supplement each 

Apologie der Technik, Richard Nikolaus 
Coudenhove-Kalergi; translations from 
advance articles in The Living Age, December 
2, 1922, and January 20, 1923 


IT had been planned to have him follow his father's pro- 
fession of the law, and at sixteen he was sent to Phillips 
Exeter Academy, to prepare for Harvard University. A 
year and a half later, he passed the Harvard examinations 
"with honors "j but hard study at night had so affected his 
eyes that they required a long rest from reading, and this seem- 
ing misfortune must assume for us the aspect of an intervention 
by that Potter in whose hands men's destinies are clay. 

To find some outlet for his restless energy, he went to work 
in a small machine shop in Philadelphia, and though his eye- 
sight presently was restored, he spent four years in this shop 
picking up the trades of the patternmaker and the machinist. 
" Throughout my apprenticeship," he wrote in his later years, 
" I had my eye on the bad industrial conditions which prevailed 
at the time, and gave a good deal of time and thought to some 
possible remedy for them." Already he had heard the call 
to that which was to prove his life work. 

" It was this," he added, " that led me to go to a very 
much, larger company, the Midvale Steel Works, in 1878." 
The times then being dull, he had to begin with the rating of 
a laborer and work at odd jobs on the floor of the machine 
shop. Then, against his wishes, he was made time clerk. 
Presently he got a chance to serve as a journeyman lathe hand. 
About two months later, when he was not yet quite twenty- 
three, he was made gang boss over the lathe hands, and soon 
after that was promoted to be foreman of the machine shop. 

No sooner did he start at Midvale than what he regarded as 
the worst feature of the "bad industrial conditions" then 


generally prevailing was brought vividly home to him. The 
management thought it was running the shop, but it really was 
being run by the men in the sense that they had the work all 
carefully laid out. When a new man was taken on, he was 
talked to by the old hands something like this: " Here, you, 
don't do any more than three pieces this morning. At 
noon we will let you in on the game." As the young man 
who had been so strangely led into industry figured it, the 
shop was turning out only about a third of the work of which 
it was capable, even under the then existing conditions. 

Now, no one knew better than he the reason for this " syste- 
matic soldiering." And as long as he remained with the rank 
and file he played the game with them. But when he became 
gang boss and foreman, then it was diflFerent. He was now on 
the " management's side of the fence " j and as he viewed it, 
what he primarily was there for was to get output. So, while 
he continued to sympathize with his men in their soldiering, 
he blithely started right in to break it up. 

That he undertook to force a lot of mechanics of British, 
Irish, German, and Scandinavian origin to do what they 
honestly believed was against their interests, he could explain 
in his later years only by his inexperience. And the casual 
observer would not have found that he looked the part. He 
was of average height, and did not weigh more than 140. His 
build, to be sure, was of the close-knit, cordy, athletic type. 
But his blond hair was accompanied by mild, if frequently 
sparkling and mischievous, blue eyes, and his chin was not 
pugnacious. His expression, indeed, was commonly urbane, 
and there often appeared on his face a look of almost feminine 
sweetness. The Fates, however, had bestowed on this gently- 
born young man a superabundance of two qualities before 
which all opposition has a habit of melting in time: to ,the 
courage generally credited to the lion he added the bull dog's 
amply-demonstrated ability to " hold on tight with the teeth." 


It was in these latter words that he himself described his su- 
perb endowment of the will persistent — and it was the only 
quality for which he ever publicly gave himself credit. 

His good friends among the most intelligent workmen 
understood him very well, and they continued to be his friends 
— outside the works. There were some pretty rough dia- 
monds in that shop, however 3 the young foreman frequently 
was threatened with violence, and the fight increased in bitter- 
ness j the men resorting to such things as the deliberate break- 
ing of machines, and their foreman to large-scale fining and 

After about three years of this, the men gave in and prom- 
ised to do a " fair day's work." They did, in fact, increase 
their production, but it was a victory that gave the young fore- 
man no satisfaction. And this not merely because he was far 
from being convinced that the fair day's work represented by 
the increased production was a full day's work. Like all in- 
tense persons, " Fred " Taylor was likely, when he got talk- 
ing, to resort to hyperbole j but surely he was not laying on 
the color too thick when on the witness stand in his later years 
he used these words in closing a description of his long struggle 
with his men at Midvale: 

I was a young man in years, but I give you my word I was a great 
deal older than I am now, what with the worry, meanness and con- 
temptibleness of the whole damn thing. It is a horrid life for any 
man to live, not to be able to look any workman in the face all day 
long without seeing hostility there, and feeling that every man 
around you is your virtual enemy. These men were a nice lot of 
fellows, and many of them were my friends outside the works. This 
life was a miserable one, and I made up my mind to either get out 
of the business entirely and go into some other line of work, or to 
find some remedy for this unbearable condition.^ 

■^ Testimony given in 19 12 before "Special Committee of the House of 
Representatives to investigate the Taylor and other systems of Shop Man- 


He did not get out of the business j and in the decade 1880- 
1890, during which he remained at Midvale, he worked out 
the essentials of his remedy in principle, though he was des- 
tined to spend another decade and more in patient, extraordi- 
narily thorough investigation and experiment such as was 
needed for modification, adaptation, development, rounding 
out, and coordination. In 1906, when he was fifty, he gained 
such distinctions as the presidency of the American Society of 
Mechanical Engineers and the honorary degree of Sc. D. con- 
ferred by the University of Pennsylvania j but it was only in 
technical and certain other limited circles here and abroad that, 
up to 1 9 10, anything was known of him or of the great move- 
ment he had started. Then in this his fifty-fourth year he and 
his work were introduced to the general public through a 
sensational episode. 

Early in the summer of 19 10, the railroads of the north- 
eastern section of the United States filed with the Interstate 
Commerce Commission new freight tariffs calling for a general 
advance in rates, and in September, October, and November 
the Commission held hearings to determine their reason- 

It was the first case of the kind. Not only were great sums 
of money involved, but the decision to be made would be 
likely to establish an important precedent. Represented by 
from fifteen to twenty lawyers, the shippers who would be 
affected by the proposed advances vigorously fought them. 
From the beginning the contest provided good " copy " for 
the newspapers, and it waxed in intensity. 

The railroads, represented by nearly half a hundred attor- 
neys, pleaded that they must have more money because of an 
increase in their operating costs, due mainly to an increase 
in wages of from five to eight per cent that their men had 


obtained the previous spring. Here was the old story: for 
all wage increases the public eventually must pay. 

The shippers responded by boldly attacking the railroads 
on the score of their managerial efficiency, a thing in connection 
with which they all along had prided themselves they were 
particularly strong. It was argued that through more effi- 
cient management the railroads could save more money than 
they demanded in increased rates. 

Chiefly instrumental in launching this attack was Louis D. 
Brandeis, destined to be elevated a few years later to the bench 
of the United States Supreme Court. A forward-looking 
lawyer of unusual public spirit, he attended the hearings as 
the unpaid counsel for the Trade Associations of the Atlantic 
Seaboard, and by reason of his keen intellect and force of char- 
acter became the leader among the lawyers assembled in op- 
position to the railroads. 

In November, when the hearings had been proceeding for 
about two months, Brandeis suddenly introduced a group of 
eleven witnesses composed of engineers and of managers of 
industrial plants, one after another of whom, in fashion highly 
dramatic, testified to the same singular effect. This was that 
there was a definite way by which the railroads could increase 
wages and at the same reduce their costs. The way was that 
of Scientific Management. One of the witnesses, Harrington 
Emerson, an engineer, testified that in this way the railroads 
could save a million dollars a day. Other witnesses, managers 
of plants, swore that through Scientific Management they had 
reduced their costs, while increasing their men's wages 2^ to 
100 per cent. 

Scientific Management! In common with the public in gen- 
eral, reporters and editors of the non-technical press never 
had heard of it before, and it seemed a phrase to conjure with. 
And a saving of a million dollars a day! That was truly sen- 


Among the reporters of the special type who were present 
when this testimony was given was Ray Stannard Baker j and 
in referring to it in an article published the following March 
in The American Magazine, he said: 

To those who heard this testimony there seemed at first something 
almost magical about the new idea; but as one sober, hard-headed 
business man after another testified as to what had been actually 
accomplished in his plant, when it appeared that Scientific Manage- 
ment had been applied with extraordinar}- results to widely diversi- 
fied industries, from steel plants to bleacheries and cotton mills, and 
including railroad repair shops, the spirit of incredulit)' changed to 
one of deep interest. Another factor in carrj-ing con\-iction to the 
hearers was the extraordinary fervor and enthusiasm expressed by 
ever}' man who testified. Theirs was the firm faith of apostles: it 
was a philosophy which worked, and they had the figures to show it. 

" This," said Mr. Commissioner Lane to one of the witnesses, 
" has become a sort of subsritute for religion with you." 

All through the testimony about Scientific Management, 
one man was referred to as its originator and principal ex- 
ponent. Though Brandeis had visited him several times to 
get information, this man had done nothing, directly or indi- 
rectly, to prompt the introduction of the Scientific Management 
idea at those rate hearings, and he himself did not appear, but 
again and again his name came up. And it was in that way 
that Frederick W. Taylor, to some extent, at least, became 
known to the generality. 

The efirect of the insertion of the scientific management argument 
into the rate hearings contest was felt almost instantaneously by the 
whole countr)\ Only a few days after the introduction of the evi- 
dence, the early December reviews of current events gave great space 
to the dramatic testimony of some of the witnesses. By January, 
one of the leading railroad journals had begun a series of articles in 
which the railroads were defended against the implication that they 
were ineflBciently managed. And through January, February, March 


and ever}' month of 191 1, the periodical press, popular as well as 
technical, was filled with explanation after explanation as to what 
scientific management is, why it is good, or why it is worthless. By 
the fall of 191 1, Dartmouth College had arranged for a conference 
to spread information as to the merits of scientific management; 
while on the other hand, owing to the demands of organized labor, 
a special House committee was inquiring as to whether Congress 
should forbid the system in the government ser^-ice/ 

Taylor's most heroic attempt to elucidate the philosophy of 
Scientific Management in a popular way was that which he 
made when testifying in January, 191 2, before the Special 
Investigating Committee of the House of Representatives 
whose appointment was due to pressure on Congress brought 
by organized labor. 

We shall here quote liberally from this testimony," not 
only because of the light it will throw on the general aims 
toward which all his workaday activities were directed from his 
early youth, but also because it is racy with the flavor of his 

The beginning of his testimony he devoted to showing (i) 
that labor's traditional opposition to all labor-saving devices 
was due to its " honest ignorance " of the " underlying truths 
of political economy," and (2) that in latter days working 
people had found an additional reason for restricting their 
output in their experiences with the piece-rate system under 

^ Horace B. Drun", Scientific Management, Columbia Unhersity Studies in 
History, Economics and Public Lazv. 

' The report of it is contained in Volume 3, Hearings Before S fecial Com- 
mittee of the House of Representatives To Investigate th^ Taylor and oth€r 
Systems of Shof Management; Government Printing Office, 19 12. The words 
of Taylor's we have omitted as signified by dots are those he used when 
markedly repeating himself. To an unusual degree, Taylor writing and 
Taylor talking were different persons. When he wrote, he habitually chose 
his words and constructed his sentences with exceeding care; when he spoke, 
he, equally as a matter of habit, just let himself drive. 


which their reward for increasing their production was usually 
a cut in the rate. Taking up his particular subject, he said: 

There are many elements of scientific management . . . that are 
utterly impossible to go into at a hearing of this kind; but I want . . . 
to make clear what may be called the essence of it, so that when I 
use the words " scientific management," you men who are listening 
may have a clear, definite idea of what is in my mind. ... I want 
to clear the deck, sweep away a good deal of rubbish first by pointing 
out what scientific management is not. . . . 

Scientific management is not any efficiency device . . . nor is it 
any bunch or group of efficiency devices. It is not a new system of 
figuring costs; it is not a new scheme of paying men; it is not holding 
a stop watch on a man and writing things down about him; it is not 
time study; it is not motion study nor an analysis of the movements 
of men; it is not the printing and ruling and unloading of a ton 
or two of blanks on a set of men and saying, " Here's your system; 
go to it." It is not divided foremanship or functional foremanship; 
it is not any of the devices which the average man calls to mind when 
scientific management is spoken of. ... I am not sneering at cost- 
keeping systems, at time study, at functional foremanship, nor at any 
new and improved scheme of paying men, nor at any efficiency 
devices, if they are really devices that make for efficiency. I be- 
lieve in them; but what I am emphasizing is that these devices 
in whole or in part are not scientific management; they are useful 
adjuncts to scientific management, so are they also useful adjuncts 
of other systems of management. 

Now, in its essence, scientific management involves a complete 
mental revolution on the part of the workingman engaged in any 
particular establishment or industry — a complete mental revolution 
on the part of these men as to their duties toward their work, toward 
their fellow men, and toward their employers. And it involves the 
equally complete mental revolution on the part of those on the man- 
agement's side — the foreman, the superintendent, the owner of the 
business, the board of directors — a complete mental revolution on 
their part as to their duties toward their fellow workers in the man- 


agement, toward their workmen, and toward all of their daily prob- 
lems. And without this complete mental revolution on both sides 
scientific management does not exist. 

That is the essence of scientific management, this great mental 
revolution. Now, later on, I want to show you more clearly what 
I mean by this great mental revolution. I know that it perhaps sounds 
to you like nothing but bluff — like buncombe — but I am going to 
try and make clear to you just what this great mental revolution in- 
volves, for it does involve an immense change in the minds and 
attitude of both sides. 

In the past, he said, a great part of the thought and interest 
both of management and workmen had been " centered upon 
what may be called the proper division of the surplus resulting 
from their joint efforts," so that gradually the two sides had 
come " to look upon one another as antagonists, and at times 
even as enemies." Continuing, he said: 

The great revolution that takes place in the mental attitude of the 
two parties under scientific management is that both sides take their 
eyes off of the division of the surplus as the all-important matter, 
and together turn their attention toward increasing the size of the 
surplus. . . . They both realize that when they substitute friendly co- 
operation and mutual helpfulness for antagonism and strife they are 
together able to make this surplus so enormously greater than it was 
in the past that there is ample room for a large increase in wages 
for the workmen and an equally great increase in profits for the 
manufacturer. ... It is along this line ... of the substitution of 
peace for war; the substitution of hearty brotherly cooperation for 
contention and strife; of both pulling hard in the same direction 
instead of pulling apart; of replacing suspicious watchfulness with 
mutual confidence; of becoming friends instead of enemies; it is 
along this line, I say, that scientific management must be developed. 

This change in the mental attitude of both sides toward the " sur- 
plus " is only a part of the great mental revolution which occurs 
under scientific management. I will later point out other elements 
of this mental revolution. There is, however, one more change in 


viewpoint which is absolutely essential to the existence of scientific 
management. Both sides must recognize as essential the substitution 
of exact scientific investigation and knowledge for the old individual 
judgment or opinion, either of the workman or the boss, in all matters 
relating to the work done in the establishment. And this applies both 
as to the methods to be employed in doing the work and the time in 
which each job should be done. 

Scientific management cannot be said to exist, then, in any establish- 
ment until after this change has taken place in the mental attitude of 
both the management and the men, both as to their duty to cooperate 
in producing the largest possible surplus and as to the necessity for 
substituting exact scientific knowledge for opinions or the old rule 
of thumb or individual knowledge. 

These are the two absolutely essential elements of scientific 

It had become his practice to compare Scientific Manage- 
ment with what he regarded as the best of other types j 
namely, the " management of initiative and incentive," under 
which it was sought to capture the worker's initiative and best 
efforts by offering in good faith such an incentive as a high 
wage for day work, a liberal piece-rate, or a share in the 
profits. After interpreting on the witness stand this best of 
other types, Taylor went on: 

The first great advantage which scientific management has over 
the management of initiative and incentive is that under scientific 
management the initiative of workmen — that is, their hard work, 
their good will, their ingenuity — is obtained practically with abso- 
lute regularity, while under even the best of the older types of man- 
agement this initiative is only obtained spasmodically and somewhat 
irregularly. This obtaining, however, of the initiative of the work- 
men is the lesser of the two great causes which make scientific 
management better for both sides than the older type of management. 
By far the greater gain under scientific management comes from the 
new, the very great and the extraordinary burdens and duties which 
are voluntarily assumed by those on the management's side. 


These new burdens and new duties are so unusual and so great 
that they are to the men used to managing under the old school almost 
inconceivable. These duties and burdens voluntarily assumed under 
scientific management by those on the management's side, have been 
divided and classified into four difiFerent groups and these four types 
of new duties assumed by the management have (rightly or wrongly) 
been called the " principles of scientific management." 

The first of these four groups of duties taken over by the man- 
agement is the deliberate gathering in on the part of those on the 
management's side of all of the great masses of traditional knowledge, 
which in the past has been in the heads of the workmen, and in the 
physical skill and knack of the workmen, which he has acquired 
through years of experience. The duty of gathering in of all this 
great mass of traditional knowledge and then recording it, tabulating 
it, and, in many cases, finally reducing it to laws, rules and even to 
mathematical formulae, is voluntarily assumed by the scientific man- 
agers. And later, when these laws, rules and formulae are applied 
to the everyday work of all the workmen of the establishment, through 
the intimate and hearty cooperation of those on the management's 
side, they invariably result, first, in producing a very much larger 
output per man, as well as an output of a better and higher quality; 
and, second, in enabling the company to pay much higher wages to 
their workmen; and, third, in giving to the company a larger profit.^ 
The first of these principles, then, may be called the development 
of a science to replace the old rule of thumb knowledge of the work- 
men; that is, the knowledge which the workmen had, and which 
was, in many cases, quite as exact as that which is finally obtained 
by the management, but which the workmen nevertheless in nine 

^ Though Taylor here spoke only of the gain arising from Scientific Man- 
agement to employer and employee, the fact is that he regarded the interest 
of the general public as paramount. In a letter written in 191 1, he said: 
" Most of us see only two parties to the transaction, the workmen and their 
employers. We overlook the third great party, the whole people, the con- 
sumers, who buy the product of the first two and who ultimately pay both 
the wages of the workmen and the profits of the employers. The rights of 
the people are therefore greater than those of either employer or employee. 
And this third great party should be given its proper share of any gain. In 
fact, a glance at industrial history shows that in the end the whole people 
receive the greater part of the benefit coming from industrial improvements." 


hundred and ninety-nine cases out of a thousand kept in their heads, 
and of which there was no permanent or complete record. 

The second group of duties which are voluntarily assumed by 
those on the management's side under scientific management is the 
scientific selection and then the progressive development of the work- 
men. It becomes the duty of those on the management's side to 
deliberately study the character, the nature, and the performance of 
each workman with a view to finding out his limitations on the one 
hand, but even more important, his possibilities for development 
on the other hand; and then, as deliberately and as systematically to 
train and help and teach this workman, giving him, wherever it is 
possible, those opportunities for advancement which will finally enable 
him to do the highest and most interesting and most profitable class 
of work for which his natural abilities fit him, and which are open 
to him in the particular company in which he is employed. This 
scientific selection of the workman and his development is not a single 
act; it goes on from year to year and is the subject of continual study 
on the part of the management. 

The third of the principles of scientific management is the bring- 
ing of the science and the scientifically selected and trained workman 
together. I say " bringing together " advisedly, because you may 
develop all the science that you please, and you may scientifically 
select and train workmen just as much as you please, but unless 
some man or some men bring the science and the workman together 
all your labor will be lost. We are all of us so constituted that about 
three-fourths of the time we will work according to whatever method 
suits us best; that is, we will practice the science or we will not prac- 
tice it; we will do our work in accordance with the laws of the science 
or in our own old way, just as we see fit, unless some one is there 
to see that we do it in accordance with the principles of the science. 
Therefore I used advisedly the words " bringing the science and the 
workmen together." It is unfortunate, however, that this word 
" bringing " has rather a disagreeable sound, a rather forceful sound; 
and, in a way, when it is first heard it puts one out of touch with 
what we have come to look upon as the modern tendency. The time 
for using the word " bringing " with the sense of forcing, in relation to 


most matters, has gone by; but I think I may soften this word down 
in its use in this particular case by saying that nine-tenths of the 
trouble with those of us who have been engaged in helping people to 
change from the older type of management to the new management — 
that is, to scientific management — that nine-tenths of our trouble 
has been to " bring " those on the management's side to do their fair 
share of the work and only one-tenth of our trouble has come on 
the workman's side. Invariably we find very great opposition on the 
part of those on the management's side to do their new duties and 
comparatively little opposition on the part of the workmen to co- 
operate in doing their new duties. So that the word " bringing " 
applies much more forcefully to those on the management's side 
than to those on the workman's side.^ 

The fourth of the principles of scientific management is perhaps 
the most difficult of all the four principles of scientific management 
for the average man to understand. It consists of almost equal 
division of the actual work of the establishment between the workmen, 
on the one hand, and the management on the other hand. That is, 
the work which under the old type of management practically all 
was done by the workman, under the new is divided into two great 
divisions, and one of these divisions is deliberately handed over to 
those on the management's side.^ This new division of work, this 
new share of the work assumed by those on the management's side, 
is so great that you will, I think, be able to understand it better in 

^ That the " new burdens and duties " Taylor placed on management were 
so great as to be " almost inconceivable " to managers of the old school, 
will be the more clear when it is considered that all along it had been held 
with practical unanimity that the details of labor operations were things to 
be left almost entirely to the judgment of those who actually did the work 
or who practiced the trade with which the operations were connected. This 
is seen in the philosophy of " initiative and incentive " which, whatever the in- 
centive offered the workmen, involved putting up to them practically all of the 
problems pertaining to the selection of their implements and methods. On the 
other hand, the duty placed on management by Taylor of reducing work to a 
science involved its assuming the responsibility for all implements and methods 
— a very revolutionary proceeding indeed. 

^ Taylor here had reference to his separation of planning from execution, 
and his concentration of planning in a special department of management — 
a sweeping division of duty which, as we shall see, necessarily led to still 
further divisions and sub-divisions, and so brought about all the phenomena 
represented by the functional type of organization. 


a numerical way when I tell you that in a machine shop, which, for 
instance, is doing an intricate business — I do not refer to a manufac- 
turing company, but, rather to an engineering company; that is, a 
machine shop which builds a variet)' of machines and is not engaged 
in manufacturing them, but, rather, in constructing them — will have 
one man on the management's side to every three workmen; that this 
immense share of the work — one-third — has been deliberately taken 
out of the workmen's hands and handed over to those on the manage- 
ment's side. And it is due to this actual sharing of the work be- 
tween the two sides more than to any other element that there has 
never (until this last summer) been a single strike under scientific 
management.^ In a machine shop, again, under this new type of 
management there is hardly a single act or piece of work done by any 
workman in the shop which is not preceded and followed by some 
act on the part of one of the men in the management. All day long 
ever}- workman's acts are dovetailed in between corresponding acts 
of management. First, the workman does something, and then a man 
on the management's side does something; and then the workman does 
something; and under this intimate, close personal cooperation be- 
tween the two sides it becomes practically impossible to have a serious 

Of course I do not wish to be understood that there are never any 
quarrels under scientific management. There are some, but they are 
the very great exception, not the rule. And it is perfectly e\ndent 
that while the workmen are learning to work imder this new system, 
and while the management is learning to work under this new system, 
while they are both learning, each side to cooperate in this intimate 

^ Not only was Taylor personally successful in winning the cooperation 
of working people, but the same thing was true of the engineers who worked 
under his general direction or who followed his methods. The only thing 
in the nature of a labor flurry that ever occurred in any establishment with 
which he, directly or indirectly, had an\-thing to do was at the Watertown 
(Massachusetts) Arsenal in 191 1, and it was to this that he had reference on 
the stand. At this government plant the workers were subjected to an organized 
outside agitation due to the prominence given to Scientific Management at the 
railway-rate hearings, but we shall see that the seven-days' strike hardly would 
have occurred even then had it not been for overhast>- steps taken by officers 
at the arsenal in clear violation of what may be called Taylor's technic of 


way with the other, there is plenty of chance for disagreement and for 
quarrels and misunderstandings, but after both sides realize that it 
is utterly impossible to turn out the work of the establishment at the 
proper rate of speed and have it correct without this intimate, personal 
cooperation, when both sides realize that it is utterly impossible for 
either one to be successful without the intimate, brotherly cooperation 
of the other, the friction, the disagreements, and quarrels are reduced 
to a minimum. So I think that scientific management can be justly 
and truthfully characterized as management in which harmony is the 
rule instead of discord. 

In his paper The Principles of Scientific Management 
(p. 2^)i Taylor summed up the new duties put upon managers 
by his system as follows: 

. .First. They develop a science for each element of a man's work, 
which replaces the old rule-of-thimab method. 

Second. They scientifically select and then train, teach, and de- 
velop the workman, whereas in the past he chose his own work and 
trained himself as best he could. 

Third. They heartily cooperate with the men so as to insure all 
of the work being done in accordance with the principles of the sci- 
ence which has been developed. 

Fourth. There is an almost equal di\'ision of the work and the 
responsibilit)' between the management and the workmen. The man- 
agement take over all work for which they are better fitted than the 
workmen, while in the past almost all of the work and the greater 
part of the responsibility were thrown upon the men. 

Further on in this same paper (p. 130) we read: 

Scientific management, in its essence, consists of a certain philosophy, 
which results, as before stated, in a combination of the four great 
underlying principles of management. 

In a footnote, these principles are defined as foUows: 

First. The development of a true science. Second. The scientific 
selection of the workman. Third. His scientific education and de- 


velopment. Fourth. Intimate friendly cooperation between the 
management and the men. 

It is evident from this, as well as from the addresses he 
delivered later, that Taylor not only failed to discriminate be- 
tween duties and principles, but also failed sharply to dis- 
tinguish his principles one from another. This, however, but 
bespeaks his lack of skill in formulation. 

In the progress of human knowledge [says the Standard Dictionary^ 
a science, in its earliest and simplest form, is usually a mere collection 
of observed facts. . . . The next step is to correlate or generalize 
these facts forming a system . . . ; the next to formulate these 
generalizations as laws . . . ; the final step, to proceed to some 
principle or force accounting for these laws. 

It is when the latter two steps are taken that we enter the 
domain of pure theory, and here is work for the scientific 
philosopher as distinguished from the plain scientist. 

That, when overtaken by death at fifty-nine, Taylor was 
groping after the higher laws of life in general, is known by 
those who were his intimates. His modesty, his diffidence in 
the presence of those laws, was marked and touching. Un- 
doubtedly he never would have attempted to deal with the 
philosophy even of his own system of management had he not 
been forced to it. And the probabilities are that he never 
would have been at home in the domain of pure theory, his 
mind having been too long directed to the observation of tan- 
gible facts. 

Again it may be said that the science of management re- 
mained during his lifetime too young for anyone to formulate 
its principles definitely, systematically, and comprehensively. 

However imperfect Taylor's statement of his four principles 
may have been, we yet may read in them the course he had 
followed throughout. 

" The development of a true science " implies the delibera- 


tion by which your problem is defined, the analysis by which 
it becomes known to you in detail, and the investigation and 
experimentation by which you gain the knowledge which the 
analysis shows you must seek. 

" The scientific selection of the workman j his scientific edu- 
cation and development," or " bringing the science and the 
workman together 3 intimate, friendly cooperation between 
management and man " — all this implies the standardization, 
systemization, and organization by which the knowledge 
gained by the investigation and experimentation is turned to 
practical account. 

And mayhap as we follow Taylor through the details of his 
life, it will become more and more manifest that herein is 
bound up a high development of that combination of technics 
and ethics which is now the hope, not only of Europe, but also 
of America. 


. . if we have inherited, not the Puritan heirlooms, but the living Puritan tradi- 
tion, we enter into the modern spirit. By this phrase I mean, primarily, the dis- 
position to accept nothing on authority, but to bring all reports to the test of 
experience. The modern spirit is, first of all, a free spirit open on all sides to 
the influx of truth, even from the past. But freedom is not its only characteristic. 
The modern spirit is marked, further, by an active curiosity, which grows by 
what it feeds upon, and goes ever inquiring for fresher and sounder information, 
not content till it has the best information to be had anywhere. But since it 
seeks the best, it is, by necessity, also a critical spirit, constantly sifting, dis- 
criminating, rejecting, and holding fast that which is good, only till that which 
is better is within sight. This endless quest, when it becomes central in a life, 
requires labor, requires pain, requires a measure of courage; and so the modern 
spirit, with its other virtues, is an heroic spirit. As a reward for difficulties 
gallantly undertaken, the gods bestow upon the modern spirit a kind of eternal 
youth, with unfailing powers of recuperation and growth. 
To enter into this spirit is what the Puritan means by freedom. He does not, like 
the false emancipator, merely cut us loose from the old moorings and set us 
adrift at the mercy of wind and tide. He comes aboard, like a good pilot; 
and while we trim our sails, he takes the wheel and lays our course for a fresh 
voyage. His message when he leaves us is not, "Henceforth be masterless," 
but, " Bear thou henceforth the sceptre of thine own control through life and 
the passion of life." If that message still stirs us as with the sound of a trumpet, 
and frees and prepares us, not for the junketing of a purposeless vagabondage, 
but for the ardor and discipline and renunciation of a pilgrimage, we are Puritans. 

Stuart P. Sherman, 
What Is a Puritan? Atlantic Monthly, 
September, 192 1 


SAYS Robert Louis Stevenson in writing about the 
engineer, Fleeming Jenkin: " Not only do our character 
and talents lie upon the anvil and receive their temper 
during generations j but the very plot of our life's story unfolds 
itself on a scale of centuries, and the biography of the man 
is only an episode in the epic of the family." This has special 
applicability to Frederick Winslow Taylor. 

Born March 20, 1856, in Germantown, which, though 
then a decidedly rural community, had been annexed two years 
before to the city of Philadelphia, he was the second of the 
three children who were the issue of the marriage of Franklin 
Taylor and Emily Annette Winslow. 

In the case of each of these parents of Frederick Taylor 
we have a family history truly epical. Both were born in 
1 8 22 J the father in Bristol township, Bucks county, Pennsyl- 
vania, and the mother in Havre, France, where her parents 
were living for the time being. Franklin Taylor was de- 
scended from an English Quaker who settled in the region of 
the lower Delaware River in 1677. Emily Winslow was de- 
scended from an English Puritan who settled in Plymouth, 
Massachusetts, in 1629. Franklin Taylor was of the fourth 
generation of his family to be born on American soil. His 
wife, the circumstance of her having been born in France not- 
withstanding, was of the sixth generation of Winslows to be 
born here. 

Though that fusion of races which is present-day America 
began in the earliest Colonial times, it would appear from all 
we can gather that both Franklin Taylor's and Emily Winslow's 



ancestries were in collateral as well as line simon-pure English, 
a fact that may be of interest in connection with Frederick 
Taylor's marked qualities of sportsmanship and persistence. 

The epic of Franklin Taylor's family is the epic of the lower 
Delaware, or that of the planting of Quakerism in America. 
The epic of Emily Winslow's family is the epic of New Eng- 
land, or that of the planting of Puritanism in America. Since 
Quakerism is an off -shoot of Puritanism, these epics are closely 
allied. The early history of New England is, in truth, bound 
up with the development of Quakerism in America j and the 
fact is that a direct ancestor of Emily Winslow's, one James, 
who was of the second generation of Winslows to be born here, 
became a Quaker, and Quakerism continued in this branch of 
the family down to Emily Winslow's time. 

Now, in The Theory and Practice of Scientific Management y 
C. Bertrand Thompson says: 

. . . scientific management is the extension to industrial organiza- 
tion of the " positive " movements in current thought. The sub- 
stitution of a basis of scientific lavi^ and principles for guesswork 
or tradition reminds one strongly of Auguste Comte's theory of 
progress from the " theological," through the " metaphysical," to the 
" positive " or scientific stage of thought. 

We believe that this celebrated Comtean hypothesis of the 
" Three Stages," if its terms are understood as Comte him- 
self defined them, and if it is taken to represent all that he 
included in it, has been proved untenable, but that it neverthe- 
less contains " an adumbration of the truth." Which is to say, 
briefly, that as theological and metaphysical ways of philoso- 
phizing (arriving at generalizations) do not recognize the 
necessity for verification^ the scientific way, which does fully 
recognize this necessity, is an advance over the former two. 
This advance, we think, is well illustrated in the Puritan epics 
of the Taylor and Winslow families. 


It behooves us now to grasp the meaning of Puritanism in 
all its forms. This we can best do by permitting John Fiske ^ 
to take us back to the eighth century, when from Armenia there 
came into Thrace a sect that in the Bulgarian tongue was 
known as Bogomilians, or men constant in prayer, and in Greek 
as Cathari or Puritans j this Greek word Cathari having its root 
in katharoSy pure, from which we derive our English word 
cathartic. The idea, you see, is that of purification through 
purging. " Of the more obscure pages of mediaeval history," 
says Fiske, " none are fuller of interest than those in which 
we decipher the westward progress of these sturdy heretics 
through the Balkan peninsula into Italy, and thence into south- 
ern France, where toward the end of the twelfth century we 
find their ideas coming to full blossom in the great Albigensian 
heresy." It was in the fourteenth century that Puritanism 
spread to England, and at first the people who there became 
infected with it were dubbed Lollards, a word derived from 
the Dutch signifying babblers, or mumblers of prayers. As 
they had no doctrines held in common, these Lollards hardly 
can be called a sect. " The name by which they were known," 
says Fiske, " was a nickname which might cover almost any 
amount of diversity in opinion, like the modern epithets '• free- 
thinker ' and * agnostic' The feature which characterized the 
Lollards in common was a hold spirit of inquiry J^ The italics 
are ours. This is indeed the origin of Puritanism in all its 

The constant prayer of the Puritan represents an attempt 
to open the mind to the influx of truth, and to steel the char- 
acter to bear the truth and testify to it in one's actions. The 
purgative idea represents the casting out of preconceptions, 
predispositions, bad habits, ill humors, and evil affections that 
interfere with the influx of truth. Hence in all lands and in 
all ages Puritanism stands for the modern spirit, or the pro- 

•■^ See The Beginnings of New England, ch. i. 


gressive, adventurous, crusading, heroic spirit of immortal 

Frederick Taylor's ancestors manifested their bold spirit of 
inquiry mainly in the field of religion. His was concentrated 
in the field of industry. 

Among the later generations of his ancestors we may discern 
an increasing skepticism concerning what is called " revealed " 
religion. This we may attribute to the growing perception in 
their later times of the necessity for verification. 

As a matter of fact, the tendency of Puritanism from the 
beginning was to make men use their brains, and this tendency 
was accentuated by the impress left upon Puritanism in the 
sixteenth century by John Calvin. True, Calvin substituted 
for an infallible church an infallible book, but by that very 
token were men compelled to read and study the book. " And 
much earlier than is generally recognized," says Stuart P. 
Sherman, " the Puritan mind began to appeal from the letter 
to the spirit of Scripture, from Scripture to scholarship, and 
from scholarship to the verdict of the philosophic reason." 

Said John Robinson, the pastor, in Leyden, of the Pilgrims 
who landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620: "All truth is of 
God. . . . Whereupon it followeth that nothing in right rea- 
son and sound philosophy can be false in divinity." Cotton 
Mather, too, wrote in his diary in 171 1 : " There is a thought 
which I have often had in my mind 5 but I would now lay upon 
my mind a charge to have it oftener there: that the light of 
reason is the law of Godj the voice of reason is the voice of 
God. . . . Let me as often as I have evident reason set before 
me, think upon itj the great God now speaks to me." And 
here is something still more interesting: 

There was a Boston boy of Puritan ancestry, who had sat under 
Cotton Mather's father [Increase Mather, president of Harvard 
College], who had heard Cotton Mather pre^ach in the height of his 
power, and who said years afterward that reading Cotton Mather's 



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book, Essays to do Goody " gave me such a turn of thinking as to 
have an influence on my conduct through life; for I have always set 
a greater value on the character of a doer of goody than on any other 
kind of a reputation; and if I, have been ... a useful citizen, the 
public owes the advantage of it to that book." This boy had a strong 
common sense. To him, as to Mather, right reason seemed the rule 
of God and the voice of God. 

He grew up in Boston under Mather's influence, and became a 
free-thinking man of the world, entirely out of sympathy with 
strait-laced and stiff-necked upholders of barren rites and cere- 
monies. I am speaking of the greatest liberalizing force in eighteenth- 
century America, Benjamin Franklin. Was he a Puritan? Perhaps 
no one thinks of him as such. Yet we see that he was born and bred 
in the bosom of Boston Puritanism; that he acknowledged its great- 
est exponent as the prime inspiration of his life. Furthermore, he 
exhibits all the essential characteristics of the Puritan: dissatisfaction, 
revolt, a new vision, discipline, and a passion for making the new 
vision prevail.^ 

A little later we shall have occasion to bring out even more 
clearly the remarkable resemblance between the mental attitude 
of Benjamin Franklin and that of Frederick Taylor. For the 
present it need only be said that in Frederick Taylor the neces- 
sity for verification, which is the marked characteristic of the 
scientific stage of thought, became paramount. 

The Puritans of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries 
were distinguished, not only by their bold spirit of inquiry and 
their sturdy independence of character, but also by their im- 
perious insistence upon obedience to law as they understood it. 
With the coming of the nineteenth century the zeal of the 
Puritan generally began to lapse. In Frederick Taylor, born 
in the middle of the nineteenth century, this zeal suddenly 
blazed up anew. 

Now, it would appear that, despite all the wealth of detail 

1 Stuart p. Sherman, " What Is a Puritan? » 


of mechanism and method brought in modern times to their 
study, the processes of heredity remain mostly a secret} it be- 
ing said by biologists that individuality depends on a chance 
combination of hereditary factors. However, it may help to 
explain Frederick Taylor if we take into consideration the prin- 
ciple of atavism, or the restoration of that which has been lost 
or obscured, by the " reversion, through the influence of 
heredity, to ancestral characters," sometimes remote. 

Of his father and mother, the mother had the stronger char- 
acter, and apparently it was through her that he acquired most 
of his characteristics. Nevertheless, we shall follow the con- 
ventional order and deal with his father's family first. 

The first settlement made by the Quakers in this country 
was at Salem, on the Delaware River, in what was then the 
province of West Jersey, in 1675. Soon thereafter they effected 
another settlement at Burlington, also on the Delaware, but 
many miles farther north, and to this place in 1677 came in the 
flyboat Martha a youth named Samuel Taylor, born in the 
parish of Dore, county Derby, England. 

We read in Francis B. Lee's Genealogical and Memorial 
History of the State of Nezv Jersey that by his elder brother 
William, who had arrived previously, there was conveyed to 
this Samuel Taylor one thirty-second of a share in the province, 
and that Samuel eventually had surveyed for himself a part of 
it lying in Chesterfield township, Burlington county, where he 
settled, married, had nine children, and died. 

Families are queer things. With every marriage comes 
an infusion of new blood j and how can you deny that this 
new blood is not just as important as the old? What we call 
the new blood is the wife's j but, as a matter of fact, why is 
it any more new than the husband's? Samuel Taylor, for ex- 
ample, married a Susanna Horsman, and by her had a son, 
Robert, who married a Sarah Woodward. Then this Robert 
Taylor and Sarah Woodward had a son, Anthony, who married 


an Anne Newbold, and by her had a son, Anthony, 2nd, who 
in turn married a Mary Newbold, and by her had a son, 
Franklin, who was the father of the subject of this biography. 
Taking, then, this man Franklin Taylor, we may ask why he 
was any more a Taylor than he was a Horsman. All of which 
is to say that if, through your parents, you are the descendant 
of two families, you through your grandparents are the de- 
scendants of four, and through your great-grandparents of 
eight, and so on until it would appear that your ancestry 
merges into that of all men. Looked at in this way, pride 
in a particular family truly becomes ridiculous j and one 
thing certain is that if Frederick W. Taylor ever had any in- 
terest whatsoever in his ancestry, it never was revealed so that 
anyone could notice it. Genealogy was one science that failed 
to make any appeal to him. 

Still, there is a great deal in family, especially when 
there are in a particular family records and traditions that 
are handed down from generation to generation, since such 
records and traditions are likely to have a great influence 
upon a child while he is yet in his most impressionable 
years. In this Taylor family, for example, there was 
a tradition of loyalty. It was said again and again that 
a Taylor is loyal. Who, then, can doubt that, wholly 
apart from any question of its being in his blood, the 
spirit of loyalty was in a Taylor child's environment, there to 
act upon him as a powerful, character-forming suggestion? 
This, indeed, brings us to the fact, quite important in account- 
ing for Frederick Taylor, that " man differs markedly from 
other animal species in having two kinds of inheritance. He 
has a biological inheritance — this is his real heredity, inherent 
in him, and responsible for much of his physical and mental 
condition. . . . He has also a social inheritance, not a part 
of his heredity, but playing a very important and conspicuous 
role in his life, especially in his less material, his higher life. 


. . . This social inheritance consists of tradition, of recorded 
history, of precept and example." ^ 

In Great Britain, where the right of primogeniture still 
is maintained, the duty of upholding the family traditions de- 
volves chiefly upon the eldest son. It would appear, however, 
that Samuel, the founder of this Taylor family in America, 
selected for this duty the youngest of his nine children. At 
all events, this youngest child, Robert, was the executor of his 
father's will, and it was he who inherited from the homestead 
tract the 500 acres that under the name of Brookdale Farm was 
destined to become locally historic. 

In a return to the British manner, Anthony, the eldest 
son of Robert Taylor, fell heir to Brookdale at his father's 
death, and all of his six children were born there. Though a 
Quaker, this Anthony Taylor became an ardent patriot when 
the American colonies revolted against Great Britain, and in 
consequence of his services to the Revolution, Brookdale was 
laid waste by the British. It is interesting to note that the 
Anne Newbold whom this Anthony Taylor married was his 
first cousin paternal, and that his third son, Anthony, 2nd, 
grandfather of Frederick Taylor, also married a Newbold. 

Of Anthony Taylor, 2nd, it is stated in Francis B. Lee's 
history that " in accordance with the directions given in his 
father's will, he was kept at school until after he was fifteen 
years of age, and was then [apparently in 1787] apprenticed 
to John Thompson, a prominent merchant of Philadelphia, 
to be trained for a mercantile and business career. Here he 
remained until he became of age, when he formed a partner- 
ship with Thomas Newbold, who later became his brother- 
in-law, and under the firm name of Taylor and Newbold 
they engaged in an extensive trade with the East Indies." 

Apparently this Anthony Taylor quickly accumulated a 

1 Vernon Kellogg, " The Biologist Speaks of Death," Atlantic Monthly, 
June, 1 92 1. 


fortune in this trade, and in the light of his distinguished 
grandson^s course, we find it interesting to read that in 1810, 
when he was only thirty-eight years old, he retired from active 
business, to settle at " Sunbury," the country seat of 400 acres 
which he had purchased several years before j this being situ- 
ated in Bristol township, Bucks county, Pennsylvania, just 
across the Delaware River from his ancestral acres in Burling- 
ton county. New Jersey. Evidently Benjamin Franklin was 
not the only early Philadelphian by adoption who, for all his 
thrift, held it to be disgraceful to go accumulating riches up 
to one's death. However, we do not have to attribute Anthony 
Taylor's course to the influence of Franklin, since Anthony 
Taylor was a Quaker, and few things could be more incon- 
sistent with Quaker principles than to lust after great wealth. 
If it remains to this day a characteristic of Philadelphians in 
general to frown upon ostentatious wealth, it may be attributed 
to Philadelphia's Quaker origin. 

After his retirement from business Anthony Taylor appears 
to have put more and more of his money into the land of 
lower Bucks county, and it is said that at the time of his death 
he was the largest landowner in the county. He was one of 
the organizers of the Farmers' National Bank of Bristol, and 
served as its president for several years. By Mary Newbold 
Taylor he had no less than eleven children, and of these 
Franklin Taylor was the youngest j Franklin being born when 
his father was fifty. 

We have seen that the marriage of Anthony Taylor and 
the marriage of his son Anthony, 2nd, each was to a Newbold. 
Though the Newbold family apparently during three of its 
generations in America remained attached to the Church of 
England, the Newbolds also were among the earliest settlers of 
Quaker West Jersey j Michael Newbold, the founder of the 
family in America, coming over with his wife and nine of his 
eleven children sometime between 1678 and 1681. In 1685 he 


Left to right: Frederick Winslow Taylor, Isaac Winslow {grandfather) , Edward 

Winslow Taylor {brother), Franklin Taylor {father), Emily Winslow Taylor 

{mother), Mary Newbold Taylor {sister, later Mrs. Clarence M. Clark) 


acquired a tract of 450 acres in Burlington county, and this 
property has continued in the uninterrupted ownership of the 
Newbold family ever since. 

From the start the Newbolds were extensive purchasers of 
land and operators in real estate. They also were conspicuously 
men of public spirit. Michael, 2nd, was one of the justices 
of Burlington county, and his son, Thomas, held various public 
offices. Though not a Quaker, this Thomas Newbold became 
a trustee of the Chesterfield Monthly (Friends') Meeting, 
and his children, their mother being a Quaker, were accounted 
birthright Friends. It was Caleb Newbold, a son of Thomas, 
from whom Newbold's Island, in the Delaware just below 
Bordentown, got its name. Then known as Biddle's Island, 
Caleb Newbold bought it for his home, and it was there that 
his daughter Mary, the mother of Franklin Taylor, was born. 
Other Newbolds settled in Philadelphia, to play leading parts 
as merchants, importers, brokers, lawyers, journalists and other 
professional people. 

Through his mother, Frederick Taylor came about as near 
being what is ordinarily meant by a Mayflower descendant as 
anyone well could be without being it exactly. Which is to 
say that while Emily Annette Winslow was not descended 
from either the Edward or the Gilbert Winslow who landed 
from the Mayflower at Plymouth Rock in 1620, she was de- 
scended from the Kenelm Winslow who was a brother of 
Edward and Gilbert, and in all probability landed from this 
same ship Mayflower, but at Salem, Massachusetts Bay, in 

In the Winslow Memorial y a genealogical work of two large 
volumes published in 1877 by Dr. and Mrs. David Parsons 
Holton, we read that Edward Winslow was one of the fifteen 
Mayflower Pilgrims " who were accompanied by either chil- 
dren or servants, and one of the eight that bore the honorable 
distinction of * Mr. ' " This means that, in the caste system 


of old England, these Winslows were of the gentry. With 
ambition more or less praiseworthy, Dr. and Mrs. Holton 
struggled to trace the genealogy of this family back to the 
fourteenth century. What is clearly established is that Kenelm 
Winslow who died in the parish of St. Andrew, Worcester- 
shire, in 1607, had a son Edward, who was born in that parish 
in 1560, and that this Edward Winslow, whose home was in 
Droitwich, Worcestershire, was the father of the five Winslow 
brothers, Edward, John, Kenelm, Gilbert, and Josiah, all of 
whom came to America. 

It was while traveling on the continent of Europe in 16 17 
that Edward, the oldest of the brothers, became acquainted 
with John Robinson, and was so influenced by that great man 
that he joined the Pilgrims' congregation then and there. 
After William Bradford, he was for many years the governor 
of Plymouth Colony, and several times was sent back to Eng- 
land by this colony to represent its interests there. Kenelm 
Winslow, the direct ancestor of Frederick Taylor, was the 
third oldest of the five brothers. As already said, he probably 
landed from the Mayflower at Salem, Massachusetts Bay, in 
1629, and this voyage of the Mayflower was a Puritan, in dis- 
tinction to a Pilgrim, enterprise} a distinction, it will be ob- 
served, that dates back to the 1560's, or to a time early in the 
reign of Queen Elizabeth, when there shot out from the body 
of Puritans a sect that was not content even with Presbyterian- 
ism, but pressed on to Independency or what we in America 
now call Congregationalism. Despite the fact that Kenelm 
Winslow reached New England in Puritan company, there is 
reason to believe that he never was of that company, but 
proceeded forthwith to join the Pilgrims at Plymouth. It 
is certain that he was " admitted freeman " of Plymouth 
in 1632. 

Most of the early New England Winslows, it would appear, 
were skilled in some handicraft} and of Kenelm we read that 


though he usually was called a " planter," and was " some- 
what engaged in the shipping interests," he also was styled 
"joiner." Now, Kenelm begat, among numerous others, 
" Lieutenant " Job Winslow, who served Plymouth in the In- 
dian wars and was a shipwright by occupation j and Lieutenant 
Job begat, again among numerous others, one James Winslow, 
who, born in Freetown, Massachusetts, in 1687, " removed to 
Falmouth [near Portland], Maine, about 1728, and settled 
on the Presumpscot River, where he had granted to him in 
1728 a tract of land on the back coast, on which to erect a 
mill." And of this James Winslow, who was of the second 
generation born on American soil, we also find set forth in the 
Winslow Memorial that " he was the first Friend [Quaker] 
in Falmouth "j to which is added from the History of Portland 
that he " lent a most important support to the doctrines of 
that respectable people in this neighborhood." 

In what year was published this History of Portland which 
refers to the Quakers as being respectable, we do not knowj 
but as it so often happens that the disreputables, the radicals, 
and the heretics of one generation become the respectables, 
the conservatives, and the orthodox of the very next, we may 
assume that, even as early as 1728, the respectability of the 
Quaker, if not fully established, was in a high degree inchoate. 
Still, in that year Quakerism probably was not so respectable 
in that isolated community in Maine that it did not take some 
force of character for James Winslow to be the first to intro- 
duce it there and lend it his " important support." 

After James Winslow, at least three of his seven children, 
Nathan, James, and Benjamin, became members of the Society 
of Friends. Now, this eldest son, Nathan, residing in that 
part of old Falmouth which now is Westbrook, and there 
building himself a house which continued in his family for at 
least a hundred years, took unto himself a wife in the person 
of one Charity Hall, and by her had six sons and four 


daughters. And of these children, John, the fifth son, suc- 
ceeded to the paternal estate, became a celebrated Quaker 
minister, and, as we find it recorded, " also a mechanic." Born 
in 1 75 1, this minister-mechanic, who was the great-grandfather 
of Frederick W. Taylor, married in 1780 a Quaker maiden of 
Salem, Massachusetts, named Lydia Hacker, and went his 
father one better in rearing a family of the good old Hebrew 
patriarchal typej which is to say he had eleven children, all 
of whom reached maturity, and all of whom married, save one. 

And all of this minister-mechanic's five sons, Jeremiah, 
Nathan, Isaac, Isaiah, and John, appear to have been unusually 
successful in business, especially the first three. Jeremiah and 
Isaac became so well known in fitting out vessels for the cele- 
brated whale fishery of New Bedford, Massachusetts, that 
they soon were employed by the French Government to intro- 
duce the whale fishery in France. Nathan was a hardware 
merchant of Portland, Maine, and we read that " his powers 
of invention were considered remarkable." Also we read that 
he was " noted for both moral and physical courage. He was 
one of the earliest abolitionists in Portland, and for many 
years the most prominent abolition lecturers were entertained 
by him whenever they came to the city. His house was once 
surrounded by a mob on this account, when Stephen Foster 
took refuge there." 

Contemporaneous with John Winslow, the minister-me- 
chanic, in Portland and its vicinity was another and even more 
famous Quaker preacher, this latter one a woman. The 
Quakers were very advanced. As early as the seventeenth 
century they acquired the notion that the Lord can speak di- 
rectly, not only to every man, but also to every woman. Thus 
among this extremely democratic body of worshipers, which 
is without a creed, a liturgy, a sacrament, or a regular priest- 
hood, every woman is as free as every man to preach and to 
prophesy as the spirit moves her. And the only difference 


between a Quaker minister and the rest of the body is that the 
minister is publicly acknowledged to have the true gift of the 
light of God's spirit. Having had the reasonable, if unusual, 
maiden name of Thankful Purinton, the woman minister of 
Portland to whom we here are referring acquired through her 
marriage to one Samuel Fothergill Hussey, the quite un- 
reasonable but none the less interesting name of Thankful 
Hussey, and as such she was known near and farj it being 
her custom, in sparsely-settled, eighteenth-century New Eng- 
land, to travel, unattended and on horseback, all the way from 
Portland, Maine, to Newport, Rhode Island, to preach en 
route at the Society of Friends' monthy, quarterly, and yearly 
meetings. And even as John Winslow, the minister-mechanic, 
was Frederick Taylor's great-grandfather, this forceful, gifted, 
self-reliant woman preacher was Frederick Taylor's great- 
grandmother. For Thankful Hussey had two daughters, one 
of whom. Comfort Hussey, was married to John Winslow's 
second son, Nathan, and the other of whom, Sarah Hussey, 
was married to John Winslow's third son, Isaac j this Isaac 
Winslow being Frederick Taylor's grandfather. 

It has been said that Jeremiah and Isaac Winslow were 
employed to introduce the whale fishery in France. Jeremiah 
was born in 1781, and Isaac in 1788. Apparently these 
brothers with their wives went to France, to settle at Havre, 
soon after the close of the War of 1 8 1 2. And it was at Havre 
in 1822 that Isaac Winslow's only child, Emily Annette, the 
mother of Frederick Taylor, was born. But whereas Jere- 
miah Winslow remained at Havre until his death in 1858, and 
all his descendants are now of the people of France and of 
Switzerland, Isaac Winslow returned to this country with his 
family in 1829. 

Both Jeremiah and Isaac Winslow accumulated large for- 
tunes for their day and generation, and both were known as 
men of high integrity. It is said that Isaac took several long 


voyages on his whaling vessels expressly for the purpose of 
studying into the life of the crews with a view to lessening 
their hardships. And as he designed not a few improvements 
in whaling apparatus, it would appear that he, as well as his 
brother Nathan, inherited powers of invention from his min- 
ister-mechanic father. And on the general score of his enter- 
prising originality it may be mentioned that upon his return 
to this country in 1829, to settle at Danvers, Massachusetts, 
he was the first person to put corn up in tins for the market. 
He was an unusually kindly man. Like Cotton Mather, he 
made the doing of good a matter of systematic practice, and by 
persons still living he is remembered for that admirable com- 
plement of the observing eye, the ignoring eyej he never saw 
anything he was not supposed to see, and on account of this 
and his graciousness of manner in general, was adept in iron- 
ing out social kinks and smoothing over all kinds of awkward 

Not being brought by her parents to this country until she 
was seven, Emily Annette Winslow, greatly to the amusement 
of her numerous New England cousins, arrived here speaking 
English with a marked French accent. As she grew into 
young womanhood, however, there could not be the least doubt 
that here was a true daughter of New England Puritans and 
Quakers. Indeed, Thankful Hussey, she who had ridden 
early and late the long and lonely trails of primitive New 
England to testify that God had not died with the ancient 
Hebrews but still could speak to and through His children — 
that Quaker preacher, we say, might well have seen in 
this granddaughter of hers much of her own high spirit of 
self-reliance and brave belief in the plenitude of her own pri- 
vate inspiration. Parenthetically it may be said that if this 
Quaker preacher could have lived to witness the course in 
industry of her granddaughter's son, Frederick Taylor, she 
might have found in him a reincarnation, not only of all her 


intellectual power and strength of will, but also of her capacity 
to endure the disdain of the orthodox. 

Different times, however, bring different manifestations of 
the spirit J and, curiously enough, self-reliance and independ- 
ence in this Quaker preacher's granddaughter was destined 
largely to take the form of revolt against Quakerism itself — 
or rather against what in Quakerism had become narrowly 
and crampingly sectarian. As it acquired respectability, 
Quakerism paid what seems to be the inevitable price for such 
a luxury, in that it began to lose in missionary zeal. As early 
as the latter part of the eighteenth century Quakers as a body 
had begun to dwell with increasing emphasis on the peculiarities 
of dress and speech that tended to shut them off socially from 
their fellow men and women, and to rest so much upon a hard 
and rigorous discipline that the correction and exclusion of its 
members apparently became a larger part of its business than 
the preaching of its gospel. 

An interesting example of this Quaker discipline is seen in 
the case of Emily Winslow's double first cousins, Louisa Maria, 
Lucy Ellen, and Harriet Winslow, the daughters of Nathan 
and Comfort Hussey Winslow (note the new nomenclature 
of the new generation). Louisa Maria and Lucy Ellen being 
married to non-Quakers, that settled them as far as the Fal- 
mouth Quarterly Meeting was concerned. And then the 
youngest sister, Harriet, took to dancing. This was too much. 
So there was circulated " A Lament for the Granddaughters of 
Thankful Hussey," which related how they had " wandered," 
been " stolen from," and had danced out of the " Quaker 

After her eldest sister's death, Harriet Winslow was mar- 
ried to this sister's widower, Samuel E. Sewall, who, attaining 
prominence at the Boston bar, at length settled in Melrose, 
Massachusetts. Apparently there was such deep sympathy be- 
tween Emily Winslow and these double first cousins of hers 


that her relations with them resembled those of a sister. And 
as the Sewalls early became interested in that remarkable New 
England movement known as transcendentalism, Emily Wins- 
low was privileged to meet the leaders of this movement, in- 
cluding Ralph Waldo Emerson and Bronson Alcott. Also she 
met Thoreau, Channing, Whittier, Wendell Phillips, William 
Lloyd Garrison, Julia Ward Howe, and Lydia M. Child. 

What visions do these names call up of that plain living 
and high thinking, of that searching and torturing of con- 
science, of that din of debate and controversy, of that out- 
burst of philanthropy, which was early nineteenth-century 
New England! Surely that was the period in which Puritan- 
ism's bold spirit of inquiry attained its apotheosis — in which, 
you might say, it went berserker! Not an individual vocation 
or a personal habit, much less any social institution, then es- 
caped having question marks plastered all over it. 

Every movement, of course, must have its " lunatic fringe," 
and far be it from us to associate with those New England 
gods and goddesses whose names we have just recorded, the 
pedantry, petulance, and puerility to which in New England 
the spirit of inquiry often descended. Let us remember, how- 
ever, that none of those men and women at that time were any 
too respectable J that as Quakerism then and there acquired 
respectability, its place in public disesteem largely was taken 
by transcendentalism. 

If Emily Winslow was not to be deterred from associating 
with transcendentalists by their lack of respectability, it is not 
to be supposed she had any interest in that movement's intel- 
lectual subtilities. To Puritan character in general and Quaker 
in particular there always has been two distinct sides, the mys- 
tical and the practical j and Emily Winslow was quite practical. 
Instinctively, no doubt, she felt the influence of all that which 
in transcendentalism lends support to the doctrine of self- 
reliance, and for her this meant definite action in the workaday 


world. So then it is not to be wondered at that, coming to 
maturity in those days of the full sunlight of New England's 
gods and goddesses, she mainly followed after those women 
of force and character, Lydia M. Child and Lucretia C. Mott, 
who toiled so indefatigably for the causes of woman suffrage 
and the abolition of human slavery, Frederick Taylor's 
mother, indeed, was among the earliest of the suffragists, and 
in 1842, when only twenty, she accompanied Lucretia Mott to 
London as a delegate to the International Anti-Slavery Con- 
vention. She also was associated with such prominent aboli- 
tionists as William Lloyd Garrison and Charles Sumner. 

If in those days it took force of character to be a transcen- 
dentalist, it required still more to be an abolitionist. How had 
the pride of the Puritan fallen that New England — church, 
college, and press nearly complete — cowered for years before 
the threat of the slave traffic! To speak for the slave in those 
days you not only had to brook the anger of the " cultivated 
class," which was easy, but also face that brute force which 
lies at the bottom of society. In Illinois, the Rev. Mr. Love joy 
was repeatedly mobbed and burned out and finally shot dead 
for publishing a paper maintaining anti-slavery views j in 
Boston, William Lloyd Garrison was dragged through the 
streets with a rope about his neck. 

About mankind there is nothing fixed j and as you view it 
in its different aspects (or as your mood varies), it now seems 
lovable and admirable, now hateful and mean. But while 
there is nothing fixed about mankind, we think that, after all, 
there does emerge from it, as you view it dispassionately, three 
classes — aristocratic, middle, and lower. But these classes 
are not composed as most people seem to think. What 
most people think is aristocratic really is middle, and vice 
versa. And these classes have little or nothing to do with 
money, or social position, or occupation. They are the classes 
Emerson saw: — 


The terrible aristocracy that is in Nature. Real people dwelling 
with the real, face to face, undaunted: then, far down, people 
of taste, people dwelling in a relation, or rumor, or influence of 
good and fair, entertained by it, superficially touched, yet charmed 
by these shadows: — and, far below these, gross and thoughtless, the 
animal man. 

That is to say, at the top such people as the real Puritans, 
with their " passion for emancifatingy" and emancipating, " not 
merely the religious and moral, but also the intellectual and 
the political and social capacities of man." 


WHAT now should be plain is that among the lines 
represented by Frederick Taylor's ancestry there 
was, at least for America, an exceptional degree 
of racial and spiritual inbreeding, and that the marriage of 
his parents represented another union of the same racial and 
spiritual stocks. And with the inventiveness that had cropped 
out in his mother's line added to the old-fashioned zeal for 
righteousness inherent in the lines of both mother and father, 
may we not here have light thrown on how it was that his 
work in developing Scientific Management should include a 
high degree of both technics and ethics? 

If we may be permitted a neologism from the vernacular, 
rather apposite in this particular connection, we may say that 
he certainly inherited a whale of a New England conscience. 
Not that he was finical. He was a realist, and some of his 
realism was unpretty. He was a man of the world, and he 
applied to the furtherance of his public and universal ends 
a deal of hard-headed worldly wisdom. Sometimes, in fact, 
a little less worldly wisdom and a little more divine would 
have better served his cause. Nevertheless, conscience and 
duty assumed in him the rigors of an old-fashioned Down East 
winter, and we can largely trace to the Stern Daughter of the 
Voice of God the development in him of the executive qualities 
he added to his engineering qualities. When facts are dis- 
covered, they usually indicate that something ought to be done. 
In the Taylor lexicon, ought was invariably followed by can 
and will. So he could not be content just with discovering 


facts. Do not these facts clearly point to this thing? Then 
we will bring this thing to -pass. 

Now, conscience implies a consciousness of what is due 
others, or what has come to be called social consciousness. 
This Taylor had in such degree that, to all appearances, it per- 
fectly balanced his passion for investigation. We believe, in 
fact, that his lifers leitmotif is to be interpreted in terms of the 
counterplay in him of these two forces j the one impelling him 
to discover and invent, the other to make his discoveries and 
inventions serve the interests of society. And as we follow 
him through his life, we perchance may catch the echoes of a 
noble, if largely unconscious, self-sacrifice born of this counter- 
play of forces. On the one hand, he longed for the peace and 
quiet of laboratory and study and the happy companionship 
of congenial souls j on the other hand, he was impelled to go 
out and fight to bring things to pass, so that his innately gentle 
spirit got all scarred up. 

It has been said that his mother had the stronger personality, 
and that it apparently was through her that he acquired most 
of his characteristics. At the same time, we should be able to 
see in him a great deal of his father 5 and perhaps the respec- 
tive qualities of his parents may help to explain the contra- 
dictory tendencies he occasionally exhibited. 

Born in 1822 in Bucks county, Pennsylvania, Franklin Tay- 
lor was graduated in 1 840 from Princeton -University, receiv- 
ing later from that university his degree of M.A. Immedi- 
ately upon his graduation he settled in Philadelphia and studied 
law there in the ofiice of a Mr. Peter McCall. Upon being 
admitted to the bar in 1844, h^ opened an office in Independ- 
ence Square. 

After the death of his wife, Isaac Winslow had come to 
Philadelphia to live, and so it was that his daughter Emily 
and Franklin Taylor met. They were married, so the family 
record states, "on Thursday, June 19, 1851, at 8 a.m., by 


Friends' Ceremony, in the presence of Charles Gilpin, Mayor 
of Philadelphia, at the home of Benjamin Jones, with many 
of the Taylor and Newbold families present." But though 
they were married by Friends' ceremony, the ceremony, in that 
it was not performed in meeting, was " disorderly " from the 
Quaker point of view 5 and under date of October 16, 1851, 
we find this entry in Franklin Taylor's journal: 

Hester Elh's and Hutchins, two of the female overseers, called 

on Emily in the afternoon to see her about her disorderly marriage. 
They stayed about an hour, during which I came in, and we talked 
the matter over very calmly. Emily evinced no desire to remain a 
member, and when they left they inquired her middle name, which 
looks like a dismissal. The friends of Orange street meeting are 
very strict, and she undoubtedly will be read out. 

And so it happened the following December. To all who 
knew her it will be evident how much there was behind that 
simple statement of her husband's, " Emily evinced no desire 
to remain a member." She had been married in a way she had 
chosen as meet and proper and suitable to herj and while she 
was quite willing to talk it over calmly, there it was. 

The youngest of eleven children, Franklin Taylor apparently 
came into the world with spirit overtrained for life's battle. 
Most of his life he suffered from dyspepsia, and in consequence 
was often, in a mild way, irritable. He had little enthusiasm, 
and was devoid of aggressiveness and combativeness. At the 
best his practice of law was confined to routine office work, 
and it was not long before it became wholly perfunctory. His 
intellectual interests centred in history and languages, and of 
these he was a lifelong student. He had good business ability, 
was methodical, painstaking, and sagacious, but all his instincts 
were conservative. It was said of him, with exaggerated truth, 
that he never made any money or lost any. 

Of old it has been recognized that, even as every developed 


woman has in her nature somewhat of those traits considered 
to be peculiarly masculine, so every developed man, every 
gentleman, has in him something of the feminine. Franklin 
Taylor was a gentleman. His journal, covering the period 
of his courtship of her who inspired in him a devotion that 
never wavered during their half a century of life together, 
reveals in him a delicacy almost painful. Time and again 
he was driven to clothe his thoughts in French, the genius of 
which so well adapts it to the expression of refinements of 
emotion and of scruple. 

Yet for all the sensitiveness and delicacy that made him 
shrink from any rough contact with the world, his was a 
life of service. If he soon ceased to practice law for money, 
his legal knowledge and business acumen always were at the 
disposal of relative and friend. For no less than fifty-seven 
years he served as secretary to the Board of Managers of the 
Pennsylvania Training School for Feebleminded Children. 
He was a good neighbor j his time, his horses and carriages, 
anything he had, were offered to any who might need them, 
and offered in such a way as to make acceptance easy. He 
served all whom he knew how to serve. He might irritably 
turn away the beggar who came to his door j but then he would 
stand and wonder if he ought not to hitch up, overtake the 
beggar, and find out what really was the matter with him. 

He keenly felt things, and felt keenly about things. While 
he had strong antipathies and prejudices, the proverbial Taylor 
loyalty suffered nothing in reputation from him. He was 
as loyal to his standards and principles as he was to any person 
he felt had a claim on him. He abominated any obtrusion of 
the ego such as the turning of a conversation into an autobio- 
graphic monologue, and abominated particularly the delusion 
that one's valetudinarianism is a thing of general interest. If 
he suffered much from dyspepsia, that was something of which 
one did not speak. 


Attaining to the ripe age of eighty-eight, he long outlived 
all the rest of his generation. The older he grew, the more 
his nature mellowed and the gentler he became. His relations 
with his children always were engagingly simple and affection- 
ate. His name for his younger son Frederick was " Bub "5 and 
though he lived to see this self-reliant, masterful son reach the 
mature age of fifty-four, this son remained " Bub " to him to 
the end. 

Death overtook him while he was with his daughter, Mrs. 
Clarence M. Clark, at her summer home at Manchester, 
Vermont. How he met his end was described in a letter writ- 
ten at the time by his son Frederick, and as there is no better 
way to tell what a man was in life than to see what he was 
in death, we here quote from this letter: 

Father's best quah'ties [wrote Frederick Taylor in 19 10] were 
never more conspicuous than when his last illness began. In spite 
of his soft, mild manner and a gentleness which was almost that of 
a wom^n, we who have been with him since childhood knew that he 
was a man of very unusual bravery and strength. 

He was sitting near the first tee of the golf course, after his three 
grandsons had started to play in one of the competitions, when his 
right side was paralyzed. His mind, however, was not in any way 
afiFected. He carefully arranged his right hand and leg so that no 
one would know that anything had happened, and waited in his 
chair for an hour and a half, until one of the boys finished his round. 
In the meantime a number of people came up and spoke to him, and 
he shook hands with his left hand, and talked as unconcernedly as 
though nothing had happened. 

When Edward [his oldest grandson] passed by him on the w^y to 
the last green, father called him over, asked him first what kind of 
a score he was making, and told him to finish out his game and then 
come back to him. When he came back, he told him that he was 
paralyzed on his right side, and his manner was so absolutely simple 
that it took Edward some time to realize what had happened. 


When he arrived at the house, and Mary [his daughter, Mrs. 
Clark] sat down beside him in the automobile, he smiled at her in 
his usual way, and said, " Well, Mary, I am all in. This is the last 
of me." He realized fully the seriousness of this kind of attack, 
because my mother went in exactly the same way. Throughout his 
illness he maintained the same cheerfulness and courage. 

Two years after their marriage, or in 1853, Franklin and 
Emily Taylor permanently settled in Germantown, which, 
founded in the i68o's by the German liberals brought to this 
country by Penn's missionary journeys, adjoins Philadelphia 
on the northwest. In 1854 Germantown was annexed to 
Philadelphia, and now forms, with its outlying sections, Mt. 
Airy and Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia's twenty-second ward. 
To a large extent, however, it still remains in spirit an inde- 
pendent community. 

Early in its history its German population was submerged 
by English settlers, and it still remains typically English in 
its social ideals and particularly in its devotion to outdoor 
sports. To say nothing of polo, here is one of the few places 
in the United States where the English game of cricket has 
flourished. It seems also, at least as regards its older part, quite 
a New Englandish place, so to speak. To this day, in fact, 
you can have the experience there of being received with stately 
decorum by ladies whose black silk evening gowns chastely 
blend with their immaculate, formal parlors, where the articles 
of adornment, free from frippery and separated by wide spaces, 
are yet sugggestive of those rich spoils of the sea that New 
Englanders used to bring home, even from far Cathay. 

The devotion to English social ideals found in Germantown 
is, of course, that which pertains to the Philadelphia and Boston 
regions in general. If the weakness of New York always has 
been exclusiveness based on money, or rather on its expenditure, 
exclusiveness in Philadelphia and Boston has taken the less 


1 ^ i 

t * ' 



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1- ■ 



















gross form of that which is based on family and the preserva- 
tion of family traditions. Founded by a Dutch trading com- 
pany, New York always has been predominantly commercial j 
in Philadelphia and Boston, on the other hand, the cultural 
influence of their religious founders has long abode. True, 
the old order in Philadelphia and Boston is now fast chang- 
ing j but we may imagine that in those middle-nineteenth- 
century days when Franklin and Emily Taylor began their 
married life, it was in its full vigor. 

Their first home in Germantown was a modest, severely 
plain two-story stone structure, with attic and wings, situated 
in what was then Willow Avenue and now is Morton Street. 
This house still stands. But whereas its neighborhood now is 
mostly given over to the homes of working people, it then 
looked out upon fields and streams, a mill-race, and clumps 
of woods. And it was here that the two sons of Franklin and 
Emily Taylor were bornj Edward Winslow in 1854, ^^^ 
Frederick Winslow in 1856. 

Even more rural was the section of Germantown to which 
his parents moved when Frederick Taylor was not yet a year 
old. The Willow Avenue home of the Taylors was to the east 
of what was originally Main Street and now is Germantown 
Avenue 3 their new home, " Cedron," in Indian Queen Lane, 
was far to the west of old Main Street in what was then prac- 
tically all open country. It was at " Cedron " that Mary New- 
bold Taylor (Mrs. Clarence M. Clark), the third and last 
child of Franklin and Emily Taylor, was born, and the family 
continued to live here for twelve years, or until 1869. These 
were the years in which the long-smouldering, inevitable con- 
flict between North and South burst into flame. Franklin Tay- 
lor was as much of an abolitionist as his wife, and both gave 
freely of their time and money to the cause. 

Four years after the war ended they went to Europe for 
three years, mainly for the educational advantages that travel 


abroad would give their children. Upon their return to Ger- 
mantown in 1872, they again settled in that more built-up sec- 
tion to the east of old Main Street. This their third and final 
home was a stone house of the near-Mansard-roof type that 
was so frequently built in this country in the 1870'sj with 
grounds ample for gardens, lawns, and tennis court, it was, 
and is, situated just off Church Lane in what was then Ross 
Street and now is Magnolia Avenue. 

That, the family again went to live on the east side is to be 
explained mainly by Emily Taylor's desire to be near a highly 
esteemed friend of hers named Mrs. Isaac Pugh. As Sarah 
Pugh, this lady was known far beyond the limits of German- 
town for her intellectual attainments, her forceful character, 
her high spirit j so that she had the distinction of being cele- 
brated in verse. She had, too, as an old friend of hers still 
living in Germantown has expressed it, " a pronounced taste for 
lions." She established at her home something of a salon for 
those devoted to plain living and high thinking, and was inde- 
fatigable in capturing for it those distinguished as innovators 
and reformers. Here often came Lucretia Mott, and even 
such travelers from afar as those accomplished transcendental 
philosophers and leaders of English Unitarianism, James 
Martineau and his sister Harriet. 

Surely in those days Germantown was in all respects a vivid 
bit of essential New England. It, too, from the beginning, 
was a place of sects, and here also reigned, throughout the 
eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, a practically con- 
tinuous religious, social, and political debate. From 1878 to 
1882, the minister of the local Unitarian Church was that dis- 
tinguished son of New England, Samuel Longfellow, younger 
brother of the even more distinguished Henry Wadsworth, 
and himself a man of high poetical inspiration, as is evidenced 
by his many hymns. Still another distinguished New Eng- 
lander who served as minister of the Unitarian Church in 


Germantown was Charles Gordon Ames. Apparently this 
church was a centre for the community's intellectual life. Fre- 
quently the widely-beloved Dr. William H. Furness came out 
from Philadelphia to fill its pulpit. 

With this church Emily Taylor became identified as a reg- 
ular attendant. Her husband, on the other hand, while re- 
taining his membership in the Friends' Meeting in the town of 
his boyhood, ceased to attend any church. 

In the main, Franklin Taylor enjoyed poetry, while his 
wife, in the main, did not. Apart from this, they had in 
common a love of literary study. Both were particularly in- 
terested in history and languages. He was the closer student 
of history, and she the more accomplished linguist. Her 
knowledge of French, German, and Italian was masterly, and 
she had a working knowledge of Spanish. Frequently she 
would entertain the ladies of her literary circle with such feats 
as off-hand translations from Italian into German. 

It will be observed that her interest in languages was con- 
fined to the living ones. Among Frederick Taylor's papers 
was found an essay on " The Study of the Classics," evidently 
written by him when a schoolboy j and as it bespeaks the drill- 
ing he received from his mother, we quote from it : 

In practical life a knowledge of the classics is of almost no benefit 
to any but professional men, so that for most students of the dead 
languages the only good to be derived from them is the training which 
they give the mind. . . . But when there are so many other studies, 
which are an equally good training for the mind, and which would 
be of use to us in our business and our professions in after life I do 
not think that time is well spent in studying Latin and Greek. 

The faculty of the mind most benefited by the classics is the 
memory, while the powers of reasoning are but little improved by 
them. . . . The study of Latin and Greek gives us great command 
of language it is true, but the study of French and German does the 
same and besides a knowledge of these languages is of use to us in 


every kind of business and gives those who are fond of reading much 
more pleasure than a knowledge of the dead languages. 

Many say that the study of the classics is the only means of learn- 
ing the grammar and construction of our own language. It may 
be so, but knowledge so obtained is merely theoretical, as many good 
Latin and Greek scholars speak bad English. A much more practical 
knowledge of grammar can be obtained by associating with those who 
speak good English, or by reading the works of our standard authors. 

From the time they first were able to lisp, Emily Taylor 
tirelessly presided over her children's education. It was not 
so much that it gave her pleasure as it was with her a matter 
of conscience and duty. She was not a demonstrative woman. 
The English ideal of keeping all one's emotions properly 
and decently suppressed had in her an excellent exponent. It 
may be, as the poet says, sweet to dance to violins when love 
and life are fair, and to dance to flutes and to dance to lutes 
may be delicate and rarej but the tune to which life went for 
Emily Taylor mainly was sounded by the Spartan notes of 
the fife. Eloquent indeed of Laconia, of New England, of 
Puritan and Quaker ideals, was her system of child-training. 
It was work, and drill, and discipline. And child was remorse- 
lessly pitted against child. If the spelling bees she organized 
among her own children and such others who might happen to 
be present caused one or more of the children to be put to 
open shame, that made no difference. 

She was particularly concerned for her boys. She was so 
anxious about them that some people thought it robbed her of 
the joy of motherhood. She was anxious that her boys grow 
up pure in mind and body. When the family was in France, 
and these boys then were being drilled in French particularly, 
she conscientiously went over in advance every book they were 
to read, and carefully pinned together such pages as she con- 
sidered unfit for their young eyes. 

She was particularly severe on anything resembling pride 


of the purse. She never set much store on tact. Tact she was 
inclined to associate with hypocrisy. She knew her mind, and 
in season she spoke it, plainly and to the point. Hers was the 
Quaker ideal of language stripped of all flattery and purged 
of all dross. 

As for her household, it truly was a thing ruled, regular. 
When the family settled permanently in Ross Street, , its 
menage included a cook, a waitress, and a coachman, all colored. 
Not only these servants, but also every other member of the 
household had his or her regular duties. To one member of 
the family was assigned the duty of seeing that all the match 
receptacles were kept filled j and when, after two years, the 
mistress of the household one day found a receptacle that had 
not been filled, the important thing with her was, not that all 
the receptacles had been kept filled for two years, but that on 
this day there had been a lapse. 

Exacting she was, but also kindly and just. So Mary, the 
cook, Amanda, the waitress, and Thomas, the coachman, lived 
with the family for about thirty-five years. These colored 
folk were considered to be not merely in the family but of it. 
But let there be no doubt about this: if when her seamstress 
came to the house for a day's work, Emily Taylor insisted on 
her having luncheon with the family, and thus subjecting that 
working woman to not a little embarrassment, you could not 
possibly have persuaded Emily Taylor to pay her anything 
more than the current wage. Her son's principle of extraordi- 
nary pay for extraordinary work remained to her incompre- 

It was a household where the family life gathered about 
the evening lampj the father reading, perhaps from some 
work of history in French or German, or from one of the 
standard writers of English fiction j the mother and the chil- 
dren listening j one boy, as he grew up, always doing his re- 
pectful best to listen, though his head might nod as he was 


gripped by fatigue from his ten hours' manual labor in a ma- 
chine shop. It was a household in which there was realized the 
William Penn ideal of bountiful comfort. But it produced 
a boy who, scorning to sit on any cushion of advantage, reso- 
lutely asserted his right to conquer the world for himself. 


HE was an amiable, obedient, and vivacious child — 
the kind that uncles, aunts, and cousins like to have 
come for a visit. When he was only two, his parents 
readily could leave him at the home of a relative. To his 
mother's austere, rigorous drilling and training he, as long as 
he remained immature, responded with unswerving faithful- 
ness. It is of high significance that he had a mother who be- 
lieved in definite instructions, and that he was a son who read- 
ily could be trained to follow them. Significant also are the 
studies which Emily Taylor preferred for her children. 

The good classical scholars [wrote the boy Fred in the essay from 
which we previously quoted] are rarely as good at mathematics, to 
understand which requires one to be a good reasoner. Our most 
successful merchants and professional men are not generally those 
who have the longest memories but those who have been taught to 
think, therefore to be successful in life we should cultivate our think- 
ing powers and not so much our memories.^ 

While the ideas in this schoolboy essay undoubtedly were 
those of Fred Taylor's mother, she could not have had much 
difficulty in persuading him to adopt them. It would not 
appear that any external pressure ever had to be applied to him 
to get him to use his brains. That, as soon as he began to think 
at all, he became enamored of scientific investigation, research, 
and experiment j that from the beginning he had a passion for 
improving and reforming things on a basis of fact, and early 

^ Whatever may be the explanation, the fact is that Taylor's memory 
throughout his life was indifferent at the best and usually was poor. 



was filled with a divine discontent with anything short of the 
one best way; that he was born with the high moral courage 
to seek and follow the one best way regardless of how it might 
appear to others — to these things there is testimony in plenty. 
In fine, he apparently came into the world, not only with Pu- 
ritanism's bold spirit of inquiry wrought into the texture of his 
being and with all of the Puritan's passion for making the 
new vision, the one best way, p'evail, but also with an intense 
infusion of the ultra-modern spirit in its demand for verifi- 

The following was written us by Birge Harrison, the artist, 
who lived with his parents near " Cedron " in Indian Queen 
Lane, and who, a playmate of the Taylor children, became a 
lifelong friend of Fred: 

With our brothers and our boyhood friends we led a healthy, normal 
life in the woods and fields about Germantown, playing cricket and 
rounders, football and mumble-the-peg, and scouring the countryside 
for thirty miles about in search of minerals and " specimens " of 
various kinds — for under Fred's leadership we were all more or 
less " scientific," even founding the " Germantown Scientific Society " 
whose oldest charter member, if I remember rightly, had not reached 
the age of fifteen. 

Fred was always a-'bit of a crank in the opinion of our boyhood 
band, and we were inclined to rebel sometimes from the strict rules 
and exact formulas to which he insisted that all our games must be 
subjected. To the future artist, for example, it did not seem abso- 
lutely necessary that the rectangle of our rounders' court should be 
scientifically accurate, and that the whole of a fine sunny morning 
should be wasted in measuring it off by feet and inches. 

It seemed to some of us also that Fred was a trifle over-severe in 
his insistence upon the strictest possible observance of all the rules 
of the game — whatever it might be that we happened to be playing. 
But once this observance of the law was conceded and agreed to he 
was most generous to his opponent, allowing him every possible chance 
to win and conceding every doubtful point. And indeed it always 


seemed to me that the combination of these two qualities, which were 
so remarkably apparent in the boy — generosity, and a strict and 
uncompromising demand for and adherence to the truth and the law, 
had much to do with the success of the man in the development of 
his system of scientific management. 

Even a game of croquet was a source of study and careful analysis 
with Fred, who worked out carefully the angles of the various strokes, 
the force of impact and the advantages and disadvantages of the 
understroke, the overstroke, etc. It was inevitable, of course, that 
his passion for invention should have been very early developed, and 
on our cross-country tramps he was constantly experimenting with 
his legs in an endeavor to discover the step which would cover the 
greatest distance with the least expenditure of energy; or the easiest 
method of vaulting a fence, the right length and proportions of a 
walking stafiF, etc. 

No matter what the form of activity, he sought to improve 
it. On Germantown's many hills there was fine coasting, and 
great was the rivalry between bob-sleds from the east and west 
sides. All the other boys were content to stop their bobs by 
digging their feet into the snowj but Fred Taylor must needs 
devise a brake in the nature of a long-toothed rake. Bean-bag, 
originally a health exercise, often was played by the young 
people of Germantown. The game was for the boys and girls 
to stand facing one another in two lines, each of which rep- 
resented a team; then from the head of each line a bean-bag 
was passed along to the foot and back again j each line, of 
course, striving to get its bag back first. It appeared to sixteen- 
year-old Fred that in this game the players stood idle too much 
of the time — did not get enough exercise. So he gingered 
things up by giving each side two bags, and having these bags 
started in the middle of the line towards each end, and so 
passed back again to the middle. 

The most remarkable invention of Taylor's boyhood is de- 
cribed by Birge Harrison as follows: 


I remember very vividly one invention which he made at about the 
age of twelve. At that time his sleep was not of the best and he was 
troubled with very fearsome and terrifying nightmares. Being of an 
observing nature, he soon noticed that when he awoke from one of 
these obsessions he was invariably lying on his back — and from 
this he argued that there must be some connection between the position 
in which he lay and the distressing mental disturbance. Thereupon 
he constructed for himself a sort of harness of straps and wooden 
points, the latter so arranged that whenever in his sleep he turned 
over on his back the points in question would press the dorsal muscle 
and at once awaken him. I think it was the Spartan nature of the 
contrivance which impressed me at the time, and for that matter still 
impresses me. But the thing worked and Fred ceased to be the victim 
of his unquiet dreams. 

Previous to contriving this harness of straps and wooden 
points, he had tried many other things, all of a Spartan nature, 
in his effort to get rid of his terrifying dreams. He had tried 
sleeping on corn-husks and sleeping on the hard floor. Then, 
on the theory that the thing to do was to keep his brain cool, 
he had experimented with a pillow of tufted haircloth, and also 
with a pillow consisting of a board with uprights at each end 
over which was stretched a piece of canvas. On each side of this 
latter pillow was a peg by which it could be tilted at various 
angles. He even tried stretching strings across the uprights, 
and would wake up in the morning with the marks of the 
strings covering his face. 

Though the harness of straps and wooden points was his 
most successful nightmare-fighting device — he continued to 
use a modification of it while he was at Phillips Exeter pre- 
paring for college — Mr. Harrison was mistaken in writing 
that it was a complete cure. It was an easy mistake to make, 
since it was as deeply inbred in Frederick Taylor as it was in 
his father to regard any physical infirmity as a thing of little 
interest to one^s friends. The fact is that he continued to suf- 


fer from insomnia throughout his life, and might often have 
cried out to God as did Job: " When I say my bed shall com- 
fort me, my couch shall ease my complaint, then thou scarest 
me with dreams, and terrifiest me through visions." After 
he had discarded his harness, he adopted the expedient of 
sleeping propped up with pillows in a bolt-upright sitting pos- 
ture, and this he continued during the rest of his lifej so that 
when he went to a hotel there always was a struggle to get 
enough pillows for him, and often he was compelled to eke 
out the pillows with drawers pulled out from a bureau. 

Though it disappoint all the Freudians, we are unable to 
give any details of his dreams. Dr. Judson Daland, who was 
his physician, attributes them to his extraordinarily intense 
nature. But how can anyone, even a Freudian, plumb the 
depths of those solitudes from which a man's nature arises? 
Surely we have only to study one another's faces to have it 
impressed upon us that in each are inaccessible solitudes where, 
due to man's age-long struggle to rise from the clod, lies 
tragedy piled on tragedy. And surely those visions of Fred- 
erick Taylor's are strangely reminiscent of his forefathers, who, 
in the words of Carlyle and Macaulay, grappled like giants 
" face to face, heart to heart, with the naked truth of things "j 
who were " half -maddened by glorious or terrible visions" j 
who " heard the lyres of angels or the tempting whispers of 
fiends" J " who caught glimpses of the Beatific Vision, or woke 
screaming from dreams of everlasting fire." There is evidence 
that, haunting some part of the nature of this courageous man, 
was the ghost of a fear, a horror. His friends had intima- 
tions of this when they would speak to him of illness and 
death. Though he would remain silent, they would become 
conscious that he was suffering, and their utterance would be 

A thing which seems certain is that Frederick Taylor's sub- 
conscious mind received no morbid suggestions from his con- 


scious. When we examine the journal he kept at the ages of 
thirteen and fourteen, or during two of the three years his 
parents had him abroad, we find it speaks in every line of a 
boy not at all given to introspection, but keenly and healthily 
interested in nature and in all the life about him. 

He was a studious youth. When he had a book in hand, 
you had to scream at him, as his sister said, to get his attention. 
But he was the exact opposite from a killjoy or spoilsport. Get 
him to realize there was something doing in the way of sport, 
and he was with you on the jump, particularly if the something 
doing was out of doors. You had him with you, not only when 
there was sport, but when there was mischief. He was one 
tease, and he spared but few. There was the slender, grace- 
ful, light-hearted girl whose parents. Dr. and Mrs. Edward A. 
Spooner, were the friends of his parents, and who often came 
out from Philadelphia to visit the Taylor household and get 
the benefit of its country life. It was she who was destined 
to inspire in Frederick Taylor a lifelong devotion j but when 
one day he was left alone with a vase of flowers belonging 
to her he could not resist the temptation to slip into the 
water something that completely changed the color of the 
flowers J and when this young girl came back to exclaim, 
" Why, these are not my flowers! " he thought it was a great 

In Germantown lived two shrewish maiden ladies j and it is 
said that Fred Taylor led raids on their cherry trees, not be- 
cause he wanted the cherries, but for the unholy joy 
of getting the ladies to come out and scold. If in the wisest 
and best of us there is some admixture of folly, you could 
rely on him to see the folly. In his laier years he used to 
tell with glee how a lady at one of his mother's literary gather- 
ings made the experiment of reading one of Browning's poems 
backwards, to find it went this way just as well as it did for- 
wards 3 so that all the other ladies there assembled still cried, 


" How beautiful ! how wonderful ! how sublime ! " Though 
doubtless highly apocryphal, the story may be taken as indi- 
cating that few were the things which escaped Fred Taylor's 
impious eye. That he had a keen sense of the admixture of 
folly in the abolitionist movement may be gathered from this 
incident in his testimony in 19 14 before the Industrial Rela- 
tions Commission: 

Mr. Taylor. In my youth my mother was a very strong anti- 
slavery woman; she was a friend of Lucretia Mott, Wilh'am Lloyd 
Garrison, and Charles Sumner, and when I was a little boy I lived 
with antislavery people, and when Lincoln's proclamation came out 
I remember distinctly, young as I was, and I remember a great many 
of these antislavery happenings and their disappointment because it 
abolished their society. [This stenographic report was uncorrected, 
and doubtless is imperfect.] And so with the [labor] union people; 
they are sorry because we are doing more for their men than they, 
and are sorry because we are treating them better and giving them 
shorter hours, and they feel sad that a man leaves the union for the 
same reason that these people felt bad because Lincoln issued his anti- 
slavery proclamation. 

Commissioner Weinstock. Their occupation was gone? 

Mr. Taylor. Yes, sir; I can not help being amused at that analogy. 
I remember it distinctly. I was only a young boy at the time; but 
these women had won their cause, and they felt darned sorry about it. 

Among his boyhood's chums were Clarence M. Clark (who 
later married his sister) and Joseph Clark, sons of E. W. 
Clark, of the Philadelphia banking house of E. W. Clark and 
Company. The spacious grounds of the Clark residence in 
Germantown were surrounded by a stone wall 5 and on fine 
spring and summer evenings outlying sections of this wall 
often were used as perching places by loving couples composed 
of housemaids and the sons and daughters of the neighbor- 
hood's coachmen and gardeners. To the Clark place at dusk 
one evening came driving in a buggy Fred Taylor and another 


pal of his, Wilfred Lewis. Catching sight of the fine assem- 
blage of lovers on the wall, Fred Taylor cried " Whoa! " and 
proceeded to lecture them with a flow of language that seemed 
exhaustless. Ought not those young women to be ashamed 
of themselves? — what were their mothers thinking about to 
let them out? And what sort of principles had those young 
men? As was often the case, you hardly could tell whether 
he was or wasn't in earnest j and to his chum sitting with him 
in the buggy it was amazing that not one of those husky 
youths on the wall showed any inclination to jump down and 
use his fists. He must be regarded, apparently, as a remarkable 
example of the power of a high spirit to surround one with a 
protecting charm. 

Certainly he was, and remained, a past master in the art of 
what in chaste English is known as raillery, in polite slang as 
" spoofing," and in slang not so polite as " kidding." As a 
boy this propensity of his sometimes made him seem pro- 
vocative, and it was his habit to be positive and disputatious. 
His old friends will tell you, however, that his nature was 
entirely free from the pugnacious. His raillery, of course, 
was for the most part just an expression of that superabundant 
flow of spirits which made him the life of any party he might 
attend. Still, it easily could run on into pure deviltry. No 
peculiarity or whim of yours could escape his hearing ear and 
seeing eye; give him an opening of this kind, and as they say 
on the ball field, he would " ride " you unmercifully. Though 
he could make his raillery so subtle as to be hardly perceptible, 
he would freely display his gift for biting sarcasm when ex- 
asperated, as he easily could be, by stupidity, slackness, con- 
ceit, cant, affectation, or sham. He loved to shock the shock- 
able, and to amuse himself with cynical expressions. There 
was much in him of the grim and dour Puritan. Yet he also 
had his father's sensitiveness, delicacy, gentleness, and sweet- 
ness, and if the cases were few where anyone took offense at 


Age 2 years, 7 months 
Age about 14. 


years, 5 months 
Age about 17 

Age about i8 


anything he said or did, it was due, not merely to the height of 
his spirit, but its entire freedom from malice/ 

The journal he kept during two of the three years he 
was in Europe with his parents and brother and sister pictures 
a boy not only healthily interested in the life external to him- 
self, but also loyally responding, largely at the sacrifice of 
his own inclinations, to the rigorous educational regime pre- 
scribed by his mother. Evidently Emily Taylor was bent on 
giving her children a polite as well as a practical education, 
or on having them cultured according to what people in her 
station regarded as the best standards. In this ambition she 
was not greatly different from most persons of Quaker train- 
ing at that time; even before the i86o's Quakerism as a body 
had begun to abandon its peculiarities of dress and language, 
and the Quakers who continued to discourage the cultivation of 
the arts probably were the exception. 

Mainly she took advantage of their stay abroad to have 
her children drilled in French and German. To help with the 
German, a governess was employed while the family was in 
Berlin. " For many years," Frederick Taylor wrote in 19 10, 
" I spoke both French and German about as readily as English; 
and on returning to France last year found myself able to 
speak French in about ten days nearly as fluently as ever." 

In Berlin, the thirteen-year-old boy also was required to 
spend two hours a day in piano practice, and with the other 
children was taken regularly to concerts and the theatre, to all 
the places of historic interest, to museums and art galleries. It 
was not just attending and listening, not just visiting and 
looking things over; it was study, it was work. And in the 
evening the father read aloud, usually from some book that 
would help the children understand what they had heard or 

^ Those who knew Taylor the best are wont to complain that his photo- 
graphs commonly make him look too serious. The look which abides with 
many of his intimates is such as he would give over his spectacles — a quiz- 
zical, mischievous, impish look. 


seen that day. It is hard to believe that ever were there more 
conscientious parents than Franklin and Emily Taylor. It 
was a family in which conscience and duty were exalted to the 
nth degree. 

In Fred Taylor's journal we find dutifully set forth minute 
descriptions of what each day he heard and saw. There are 
detailed descriptions of pictures particularly. Evidently his 
parents had more real interest in the graphic arts than in such 
an art as that of music, for he speaks of them attending a per- 
formance of " Faust " and not enjoying it. Even while he was 
being drilled linguistically and in history and art, his regular 
lessons went on abroad, at school and at boarding place. He 
writes with real enthusiasm of his wrestlings with problems 
in geometry and in other branches of mathematics. His 
journal is also replete with the interests of a regular boy. He 
collected postage stamps, tooj but what at this time evidently 
lay closest to his young heart was his collection of birds' eggs 5 
apparently wherever the family went in Europe he haunted 
the stores that sold such eggs, and devoted most of his pocket 
money to their purchase. We can well believe that the trans- 
portation of these fragile articles imposed on the family some 
serious problems j but the collection, unusually extensive for 
a boy's, was safely brought to America, and still is intact. That 
he carried his mischievous spirit to Europe will appear from 
the entry in his journal in which he describes a visit in Berlin 
to " Monbijou Pallace," where among other things on exhibi- 
tion were relics of Frederick the Great. " Frederick," writes 
his young American namesake, " seemed to have made a col- 
lection of fluits and other musical instruments. I played 
Yankee dudle on his piano." 

It will be seen that at thirteen his spelling was boyish to a 
degree. Better train the reason than the memory, you know. 
However, there comes in the journal a sudden and marked 
improvement in spellings apparently Master Fred got jacked 


up about this weakness of his in a way that impressed him. 
He has all of the normal boy's interest in girls. He 
writes of a girl with whom his brother and another boy 
fell in love, but she was not pretty enough for him. Then 
there is a reference to a girl who called on " sis," and was 
" unusually good looking for a german." Apparently the 
family's experiences with the good Berliners were not alto- 
gether happy. Here is this delicious bit from Master Fred's 

Went to a beer garden where Mrs. [a German lady] had 

a sossage some of which she would tak with her knife and lick it off 
then with the same knife cut off a slice and offer it to the rest of us 
Not many of whom took any of it. When she presented it to mother 
there was quite a crook perceptable in her nose which is mothers sighn 
of disgust. 

His own boyish experiences with the Germans were far from 
happy. This is brought out in a letter he wrote forty-five 
years later. In 191 3 there came to him at his Chestnut Hill 
home two Germans who, representing themselves to be 
engineers interested in Scientific Managment, asked him to 
give them a letter to the president of a New Jersey cotton 
mill that had installed his system. This he courteously did. 
Several months later the president of the mill discovered that 
these two men were employed by large spinning and weaving 
plants in Germany, which plants now were circularizing all 
the New Jersey mill's customers and otherwise were making 
systematic efforts to steal these customers away. Upon receiv- 
ing the letter giving him this intelligence, Taylor, under date 
of January 21, 19 14, wrote to the president of the New 
Jersey mill as follows: 

I am exceedingly chagrined to hear, from yours of Jan. 20th, that 

in Mr. and Dr. I sent two traitors into your camp. 

This incident again confirms my profound distrust of Germans. Since 


spending a year and a half in Germany as a boy I have disliked them 
exceedingly; in fact, have never gone back to Germany since that 
time. I can assure you that I will be mighty careful about again 
giving a letter of recommendation to a German. I feel very much 
ashamed of this incident. 

It will be observed that this letter was written just six 
months before the Germans amazed most of us by their sud- 
den leap upon Belgium and France. Several times in his 
later years Taylor journeyed to England, France, and Italy, 
but nothing could induce him again to set foot in Germany. 
The trouble mainly was that the German boys with whom he 
tried to play games outraged his sense of sportsmanship. He 
found, so he told his friends, that Germans were unfitted for 
participating in any game depending upon the personal honor 
of the player. The idea that defeat was greatly to be preferred 
to winning through any violation of the rules was to them in- 
comprehensible. They would lie and cheat without compunc- 
tion in order to win, and would whine when they were beaten. 
Throughout his life Taylor was in the habit of saying in his 
sweeping, enthusiastic way, " All Germans are liars." Of 
course he did not mean to have this indictment by him of an 
entire people taken too seriously. A man of his temperament 
could not help but admire the general thoroughness of Ger- 
man methods, and some of his good friends among workmen 
were Germans. Nevertheless, his dislike and distrust of 
Germans as a race was as profound as it was lasting. 

After their first winter in Berlin, Franklin and Emily Tay- 
lor traveled with their children through southern Germany 
and on into Austria and Italy, and back into Switzerland, where 
the boys took full advantage of the opportunity to indulge in 
mountain climbing j Fred, as usual, experimenting with va- 
rious methods of using his legs and with all kinds of devices 
for assisting them. The winter of 1869-70 the family spent 


in Paris, where the children went to school. In the following 
spring, parents and children again went traveling j this time 
through Belgium, Holland, England, Norway, and Sweden. 
On July 16, 1870, they arrived at Copenhagen, Denmark, 
by steamer from Sweden j and under this date we find this 
entry in Fred's journal: "On arriving we learned that war 
had been declared between France and Prussia. We boys go 
for France and the others for Prussia." Always Taylor was 
deeply in sympathy with France j so that it was most grateful 
to him that the French, of all peoples, seemed to take the most 
readily to his system of management. Doubtless in July, 
1870, his boyish sympathy for the French cause was assisted 
by the aversion he took to a German teacher he had in Paris 
the previous winter. Of this man he wrote in his journal: 

When I first saw him I thought him a very pleasant man but I 
was not there over a week when I commenced to see his real character. 
He treats his wife very badly and even makes her cry before all the 
boys at table. He is all laugh when one first sees him but afterwards 
he proves himself a thorough German. [Note the improvement in 

In 1870 his parents took him back into Germany, and there 
his journal suddenly collapsed, never again to be resumed. 
No form of autobiography could appeal for long to Fred- 
erick Taylor. The nearest approach to it in which he ever 
again indulged was a letter of about 2,000 words he was per- 
suaded to write by his friend, Morris L. Cooke, when, in 19 10, 
various magazines began to take interest in him on account of 
the sudden general publicity given that year to Scientific Man- 
agement. This letter began as follows: 

In answer to your letter asking for facts in my personal history, 
I can hardly think of any with which you are not already familiar. 

The two years of school in France and Germany, and then a year 
and a half of travel in Italy, Switzerland, Norway, England, France, 


Germany, Austria, etc. (of all of which I disapprove for a young 
boy), then a return to the healthy out of door life of Germantown, 
than which I believe there is nothing finer in the world, in which 
sport is the leading idea, with education a long way back, second. 
Then two years of really very hard study, coupled with athletics, 
at Exeter, and what I look back upon as perhaps the very best experi- 
ence of my early life, namely, the very severe Exeter discipline, in 
which no excuse was taken for any delinquency whatever, and in 
which every boy had to toe the mark in all respects. 

Though he came to disapprove of most of the education he 
received as a boy, and wrote enthusiastically of the training 
he received at Exeter, he was of the opinion that even that 
training had its " wrong side." However, we shall see that 
it was the " wrong side " which led to the experience that 
revolutionized his outlook on life and determined his whole 
future career. 



PREVIOUS to his being taken to Europe, he had at- 
tended the Germantown Academy. He and his brother, 
however, were sent to Phillips Exeter, at Exeter, New 
Hampshire, almost as soon as the family returned from 
Europe in 1872, to settle in Ross Street. The official records 
show that Frederick Winslow Taylor registered at Exeter on 
September 4, 1872, as a student in the middle class, to pre- 
pare for Harvard College. It was his parents' plan to have 
his brother become a physician, and him a lawyer. 

At Exeter he roomed and boarded at the home of a Mrs. 
Cilley with his brother, his cousin, James A. Wright, Jr., and 
three other students. After his first year, James A. Tufts, 
now a professor at Exeter, became his room-mate at Mrs. 
Cilley's. Professor Tufts tells us that " the house was colo- 
nial in style, large and homelike, and the family interest- 
ing." Fred Taylor had a great time there teasing his hostess's 
daughters. The circumstance that this family had ideas of 
the strictest New England type as to what was proper in social 
and religious observance gave him a fine opportunity in his 
capacity of shocker extraordinary. He loved to make his 
hostess and her daughters gasp by arguing that there was noth- 
ing wrong in playing games on Sunday. 

The fact that in his " prep " school days he enjoyed attack- 
ing religious ideas that most people regarded as vital may 
well bring up the question as to what were his own ideas in this 
connection both in youth and maturity. 

Among his effects was found a bit of paper on which was 
written in his own hand, apparently at an early age, a verse 
which, under the heading " Good Creed," reads as follows: 



Man comes into this world naked and bare. 
He passes through this world with trouble and care. 
His exit from this world is I know not where. 

But if he does well here he will do well there, and I can tell you no 
more if I preached a whole year. 

Whether he got this doggerel from someone else or himself 
perpetrated it, it may be taken as reflecting his attitude towards 
religion throughout his life. Though wont to group theo- 
logians with politicians and Germans as eminently eligible for 
membership in an Ananias Club, he came to discriminate more 
and more between that religion which is purely formal, or 
merely ecclesiastical, or simply a matter of hearsay and cant, 
and that religion which is the sincere expression of the feel- 
ings of one's heart. If he continued to heap scorn on the 
former kind, no one, as he matured, could have been more 
respectful of the latter kind. At all times, however, his at- 
titude towards " revealed religion " was frankly agnostic in 
the true sense j that is, he did not necessarily deny, but he did 

That, to some extent, he always identified himself with the 
church his mother came to attend, is indicated by the fact that 
in his latter years he refused to give money to the Young Men's 
Christian Association as long as that organization discriminated 
in any way against Unitarians. But, after repeatedly trying 
it at various intervals continuing into his latter years, he had 
to give up regular attendance at any church. This is brought 
out in a letter written us by the Rev. Oscar B. Hawes, former 
minister of the Unitarian Church in Germantown: 

Mr. Taylor spoke two or three times at the meetings of the Men's 
Club of the Unitarian Church at Germantown. In the Minutes 
of our Club I see there is a memorandum that Mr. J. M. Dodge 
and Mr. Frederick W. Taylor spoke at one of the very earliest meet- 
ings of the Club, held on November 3rd, 1902. Mr. Taylor always 
spoke with great force and most effectively on the subjects dealing 


with industrial conditions and the welfare of the working men. On 
two or three occasions he gave the " Address of the Evening " at our 
Club. On numerous other occasions he entered into the discussion 
which followed after the principal address. He was interested in 
the practical work of the Club, and during the early days of the for- 
mation of our Nicetown Club for boys and girls he was very helpful 
in giving suggestions as to instructions and methods, etc. 

Mr. Taylor did not often attend church. I think he felt that he 
was doing practical religious work all the time. His mind was so 
keen that when he attended service he often wanted to " answer 
back " and felt the inadequacy of a service where but one point of 
view was expressed. I am told that he would occasionally take notes 
on his cuffs, but in regard to this I am not sure, nor am I certain as 
to the accuracy of my understanding in regard to his general attitude. 

Despite Mr. Hawes' uncertainty as to these latter particu- 
lars, they are quite correct. It was the exact opposite of in- 
difiFerence that kept Mr. Taylor away from church. 

Such was his demand for verification that he was distrust- 
ful of anything that was not based on definite, tangible, prov- 
able facts. He was the most courteous of conversationalists, 
he always let the other fellow have his sayj but he simply 
could not sit quiet until you had got your facts straight. If, 
as George Eliot said, Herbert Spencer's idea of a tragedy was 
a theory killed by a fact, Frederick Taylor's idea of a tragedy 
was a fact killed by a theory. 

He was indeed restive in church, taking notes on his cuffs, 
and all that. He felt he was there introduced to a region 
where there was nothing his mind could grip, nothing he could 
get hold of and keep hold of so that it could be used to trace 
out a law. 

To him religion was something practical, or it was nothing. 
While, on select occasions when he could give vent to the 
mischief in him, he shocked even such liberal religionists as 
Unitarians by his seemingly irreverent denunciations of " all 


this come-to-Jesus business," he was delighted beyond measure 
when he heard a clergyman at the Labor Temple in New York 
City deliver an address to workmen that had reference to their 
every-day work in the shop. " God," said Charles Kingsley, 
" is eternally God because He is eternally useful." And that, 
as Frederick Taylor's friend, B. Preston Clark, tells us, ap- 
parently was Frederick Taylor's idea of a God exactly. To- 
ward the close of his life, Mr. Clark argued to him that Sci- 
entific Management was the continuation and extension of 
the old religious truths of love and service. And we are in- 
formed that he nodded his head. 

He was known at Exeter as a close student who never was 
satisfied with anything short of his best, and who got brilliant 
results mainly through hard work. In his second year he 
led his class. However, you could not call him a grind — 
there was too much fun and sport in him. He and James A. 
Tufts were on the same boat crew. He was a fine gymnast, 
and among the fanciest of fancy skaters. For a while he was 
captain of the baseball team. He did the pitching. In those days 
pitchers were supposed to deliver the ball underhand or from 
below the shoulder, but he must needs deliver the ball from 
above his shoulder, and in consequence had frequent wrangles 
with umpires. 

Here, as at other places, he was celebrated for his impish 
ability to mimic the peculiarities of others. But, says Professor 
Tufts, " he was always cheerful, optimistic, genuine. He 
never uttered a foul or unkind word, never boasted, never 
shirked." He hated quarrels. At that time there was at 
Exeter something of the bad feeling between town and gown 
which used to make old Oxford such a lively place. Fred 
Taylor, however, led in bringing about peace. 

The professor of mathematics at Exeter during his years 
there was a famous character named George A. Wentworth — 
" Bull " Wentworth, he commonly was called. One custom 


of Professor Wentworth's made upon Taylor an impression 
most profound. When he was being examined in 1 9 1 2 by the 
Special House Committee, he was asked: " How is it possible 
to study how long the workman should take in that part of the 
work that is purely mental? For example, how long he should 
take in making up his mind how work should be done or in 
reading and grasping a drawing? " 

The first piece of time study that I ever saw made by anyone 
[reph'ed Taylor] was made in the study of just that thing, a study of 
the mental capacity of boys. When I was at Phillips Exeter Acad- 
emy Mr. George A. Wentworth was the professor of mathematics, 
and he worked off his first geometry while it was in manuscript and 
his first algebra on my class, the class of '74. He worked those books 
oif on us for the two years while I was there. I, as a student, 
wondered how it was possible (that right along steadily, right through 
from the beginning to the end of the year, as we went on from month 
to month) that old bull, Wentworth, as he was called, gave us a 
lesson which it always took me two hours to get. For the two years 
I was there I always had to spend two hours getting that lesson, and 
finally we got onto his method. We were very slow in getting onto 
it, however. 

Mr. Wentworth would sit with his watch always hid behind a ledge 
on his desk, and while we knew it was there we did not know what 
the darn thing was used for. About once a week or sometimes twice 
a week he went through the same kind of exercise with the 
class. He would give out a series of problems and insisted that 
the first boy who had them done should raise his hand and snap his 
fingers. Then he would call his name. He went right through the 
class until just one-half of the class had held up their hands. We 
always noted when he got half way through the class and the middle 
boy would snap his fingers he would say, " That is enough; that will 
do." What he wanted was to find out just how many minutes it 
took the average boy in the class to do the example which he gave. 
Then we found that Wentworth timed himself when he first tackled 
those problems. He got his own time for doing those five examples, 


and the ratio between his time for doing the examples and the time 
of the middle boy of the class enabled him to fix the exact stunt for 
us right along. The speed of the class changed. He did not change. 
All he had to do was to get this ratio of change, and he could say, 
for instance, the average of that class will take two hours if I can 
do the example in 25 minutes, and in this way he was able to give 
the class its proper stunt right along. That was the first instance 
of a time study of mental operations which I had ever seen. 

In writing in 19 10 about "the very severe Exeter disci- 
pline," Taylor added: " At that time one-half of the scholars 
at Exeter were dropped each year." It was Indeed a case of 
toe the mark and no excuses. No cuts were permitted. Every 
student had to appear at chapel. After expressing his approval 
of all this severity in general Taylor continued: 

It was the wrong side of the Exeter training, however, which ruined 
my eyes and left me no alternative than working as a workman for 
the four years following 1874. At that time the great ambition of 
all boys at Exeter was to be the head of the class in studies, and the 
competition was so severe that all of those who were not very brilliant 
had to work away late into the night in order to get there. It was 
this competition that broke my eyes down, and it should be also noted 
that three other men who led the class before I did also broke down 
and had to leave Exeter on account of poor health. 

Writing in 191 2 to a friend, Taylor, referring to one of 
his adopted sons, said: 

I finally decided to send him to Milton Academy this fall. Should 
have preferred Exeter, but there is no restriction whatever at Exeter 
on the hours in which the boys can study, and I thought it would be 
better for Robert to be where he was obliged to have lights out at 
ten o'clock. 

Professor Tufts, speaking of Fred Taylor's eye trouble, 
says: " He feared he might not be able to go to college, but he 


resolved to complete his preparation and he passed the Harvard 
examinations in June, 1874, with 'honors.'" 

We are told that his eye trouble could, with the advance in 
optical science made since then, be now readily corrected. As 
it was, his eyes had to have a long rest from reading. And 
so it was that, while his brother went on to college and be- 
came a physician, Frederick W. Taylor did not become a 

If he returned to his parents' home to rest his eyes, it was 
the only form of rest he did get — we might say could get, 
imbued as he seemingly was with all of the seventeenth-century 
Puritan's deep sincerity and flaming zeal. Even when he 
sought relaxation in sport, that same terribly earnest spirit 
took possession of him, and sport became for him almost as 
nerve-draining as work. Which leads us on to say that, what- 
ever his faults, they were not of a kind to create for his bi- 
ographer any problems in discretion. His whole life really 
was an open book. It is not on the record that he ever did 
anything common or mean. There was nothing little about 
him. Practically all of his faults, in fact, had their origin 
in that intense earnestness and zeal of his, he being inclined 
to overdo in everything. A man, of course, may resist his 
inclination, and Taylor was not without success in holding 
himself in — far from it. Acting as brakes on his tendency 
to go to extremes were his strong instinct for the practical, 
with its underlying quality of common sense, and his equally 
strong instinct for the social, with its underlying quality of 
amiability. Nevertheless, he always was likely to exhibit a 
certain too-muchness. He suffered markedly from the excess 
of his virtues. 

Eventually he himself became fully aware of this fault of 
his. Despite his proud habit of keeping his troubles to himself, 
now and again, in his correspondence with his friends in his 
later years, there was sounded a note of unconscious pathos as 


he referred to the merciless way he had driven himself in 
his youth, and thus had permanently weakened his ability to 
endure. He was anxious that all young men avoid the mis- 
take he made of thinking he was made of iron. But even 
after he became fully aware of his tendency to overdo, he 
could not spare himself. He became like Kipling's explorer. 
There was at him a voice " as bad as conscience, ringing in- 
terminable changes on one everlasting whisper day and night 
repeated — so: 'Something hidden. Go and find it.'" He 
must " go — go — go away from here." There always was 
some place at which he was overdue. Not geographical ex- 
ploration, but exploration of the way things work. Not go- 
ing and going in space, but in mind, in thought. For the places 
at which he was overdue were those facts that always lay 

With eyes made useless for study, he was in despair upon 
his return from Exeter to Germantown. For a time it seemed 
like a tragedy to him, this temporary disability that was to 
direct his life into what we must regard as its true channel. 
As boy and man, all his forces centred in his head. He hated 
to do things with his hands. Though he always had been ready 
to help his mother with such odd jobs about the house as hang- 
ing pictures, it was not because he enjoyed it. But now, be- 
cause he could not study and had to do something, he was 
avid even of such jobs as carrying stones for his mother's hot- 
beds. And as jobs like these became unable to absorb his 
energy, he, late in this year of 1874, when he was eighteen, 
seized upon the chance to learn, in the shop of a small Phil- 
adelphia pump-manufacturing company whose proprietors 
were acquainted with his family, the trades of the pattern- 
maker and the machinist. 



THIS Philadelphia concern in whose employ Fred Tay- 
lor learned his trades was known as the Enterprise 
Hydraulic Works, and the firm that owned it while 
he was there was first Ferrell & Jones and then Ferrell & 
Muckle. The works were situated in Race Street, down near 
the Schuylkill River. 

In the lecture on " Success ^' that Taylor, upon his retire- 
ment from money-making business, delivered at various en- 
gineering schools, he told of an incident in his life at this 
time that he never forgot, though, as he also said, it took him 
many years to realize all it meant. We quote from the man- 
uscript he used as a basis for this lecture: 

When I was about to begin to serve my apprenticeship, an old 
gentleman who had been very successful sent for me to come to see 
him. He lived some 20 or 30 miles away, and said that he had 
something very important to tell me. What he had to say took but 
three or four sentences. He said: " If you want success in your work, 
do what I say. If your employer wants you to start work at 7 o'clock 
in the morning, always be there at ten minutes before seven. If he 
wants you to stay until 6 o'clock at night, always stay until ten 
minutes past six. Now, if you haven't sense enough to know what 
I mean by this, you haven't sense enough to succeed, anyway." 

He also said: "Let me tell you one more thing. Whatever hap- 
pens, however badly you may be treated, however much you may be 
abused, never give up your job until you have taken 48 hours to think 
it over; and if possible don't talk back to the man who is over you 
until you have time to cool off." ^ 

^ The " old gentleman " who gave young Taylor this advice was his uncle, 
Caleb N. Taylor, president of the Farmer's National Bank of Bristol, which 



In 1876, when the international exhibition was held in Phil- 
adelphia to celebrate the centennial of this country's birth, Tay- 
lor was persuaded by his cousin, Edward I. H. Howell, to 
leave his apprenticeship for six months, and join in represent- 
ing at the exhibition a group of New England manufacturers, 
chiefly of machine-tools. As there were many foreigners 
among the visitors, his cousin wished to take advantage of 
Taylor's knowledge of French and German. Now, Taylor's 
mature observation was that the great motive power of most 
successful men is "singleness and earnestness of purpose "j 
and it would appear that the value of this was impressed upon 
him in his apprenticeship days by an experience he had at the 
exhibition, which experience was related by him as follows: 

One day an old gendeman came into my exhibit, and I saw at once 
by the questions which he asked that he was a fine mechanic. I took 
every pains to explain our machines and tried to sell him some. After 
a while he sat down and asked me to sit alongside of him. He said: 

"What is your idea for success in life? " 

I said I didn't know, that I had no particular idea. 

" Why," he said, " you must have something that you are work- 
ing for." 

I said: "Yes, sir, I am working to get to be a machinist and earn 
$2.50 a day." 

" Oh, no," he said, " I don't mean that. When I was your age 
and before I was out of my apprenticeship, I had made up my mind 
just what I was going to do. I decided that I was going to learn 
how to do work just a little more accurately than any of the other 
apprentices around me, and when I had succeeded in doing this, then 
I decided that I would learn to do it still more accurately than I 
had done before. Throughout my whole life that has been my one 
idea. I have never cared so much about the rapidity of the work — 
although I worked about as fast as other people — but I have always 

bank was founded by Anthony Taylor, the father of Caleb and of Franklin, 
Caleb Taylor was a very important man in his community; being-, we are told, 
the first Republican ever elected to Congress from the district formed by Bucks 
and Montgomery counties. 


been determined to do a little better work than anyone else around. 
That is what I am still aiming to do to-day, — to do better work 
next year than I am doing this year." He said: " I suppose you know 
who I am?" 

" No." 

" I am ' Old Man Sharpe,' at the head of the Brown & Sharpe 
Company of Providence, R. I." 

Now, this simple idea has been enough to build up and keep through 
two generations the great Brown and Sharpe Company, at the head 
of all companies in this country who are doing accurate work, and 
probably no finer work, on the whole, is done in any company through- 
out the world.^ 

Starting in the latter part of 1874, Taylor finished his ap- 
prenticeship in the latter part of 1878. From his testimony 
before the Special House Committee we quote this: 

The Chairman. You were a journeyman machinist when you went 
to the Midvale plant, were you? 

Mr. Taylor. Yes; I may say, Mr. Chairman, that my father had 
some means, and owing to the fact that I worked during my first 
year of apprenticeship for nothing, the second year for $1.50 a week, 
the third year for $1,50 a week, and the fourth year for $3.00 a 
week, I was given, perhaps, special opportunities to progress from one 
kind of work to another; that is, I told the owners of the establish- 
ment that I wanted an opportunity to learn fast rather than [earn] 
wages, and for that reason, I think, I had specially good opportunities 
to progress. I am merely saying that to explain why in four years 
I was able to get through with my apprenticeship as a patternmaker 
and as a machinist. That is a very short time, as you will realize. 
I may add that I do not think I was a very high order of journeyman 
when I started in. 

That he persisted with his apprenticeship despite the early 
restoration of his eyesight and his strong distaste for manual 

^ " Success " lecture. Incidentally these quotations will serve as speci- 
mens of the literary style which, while devoid, of any natural gift or inclina- 
tion for writing, he acquired by force of will. 


labor, admits of various explanations. It is probable that the 
trade of patternmaking, calling for ability to read and inter- 
pret complicated mechanical drawings, had special fascination 
for him because he felt stirring within him the power of inven- 
tion, the Yankee ingenuity, that had appeared in his mother's 
father, uncle, and grandfather. Again there is the fact that his 
excursion into that workshop was for him, with his birth and 
breeding and surcharged as he was with boyish curiosity, a regu- 
lar lark, the exploration of a new world. And this brings us to 
something of major importance, if only because of the light 
it will throw on the general experience he was destined to 
have in industry. 

" In a world composed of matter," says an anonymous news- 
paper writer, " the child's adventures and education consist 
largely in exploring matter. He wants to see what every- 
thing is made of. His tactile sense and curiosity are un- 
bounded. He is attracted by everything he sees. He is a born 
inspector and investigator of everything." Practically all of 
us begin that way — no boredom, no wearisome routine, noth- 
ing dull or prosaic or colorless j surrounding us is an infinite 
variety of astonishing sights, sounds, shapes, and motions, and 
herein we repeat in our individual lives the childhood of the 

Few of us, however, stay that way. Our senses soon cease 
to be free and openj we become shut up in our little selves j 
we fall into a lethargy, a kind of sleeping sickness j the sur- 
face aspect of things becoming with us an old story, the dead- 
ening delusion comes over us that this is the whole story. So 
we fail to establish any intimate contact with that " thousand- 
fold Complexity of Forces " out of which all things proceed, 
and to learn how these forces can be directed to new issues as 
the conditions governing their operation are changed. In- 
deed, we are fortunate if, having early fallen into the habit 
of accepting things as they are, we do not become opposed to 


all change, do not end with a profound skepticism that things 
can be made better. And here we have the explanation of the 
ingrained conservatism of the mass, the conservatism against 
which Taylor throughout his career beat and beat until he 
wore himself out. 

But so far we have had only part of it, the other part being 
this: The problem of all evolution, personal, racial, and me- 
chanical, is to hold fast to what is good and add to it what can 
be changed for the better. Apparently, however, the mass 
of humanity, while losing the free, open sense and in conse- 
quence the curiosity of the child, largely retains the child's 
shallowness, his undeveloped intellectual faculty and power 
of self-control. 

That the curiosity of the child is good, there can be no 
doubt, since it is the mark of the scientific spirit. Add to this 
curiosity the depth and strength and the ripe intellectual fac- 
ulty of a man, and there you have the scientist. To be sure, 
greatness as a scientist can come only through great concen- 
tration of curiosity and intellectual faculty in some one field, 
and such concentration is neither practical nor desirable for all. 
Nevertheless, the lives of great scientists all remind us we can 
make our lives sublime by becoming scientists in some degree. 

It is important that we value correctly, not only the free, 
open sense to be retained, but also the intellectual faculty to 
be developed. It is only through such development that any- 
one can attain to the full status and stature of a man. Look- 
ing at it from the racial point of view, we may say that man 
came into the world when what we call Spirit, ever struggling 
for a higher expression of itself in the inert matter upon which 
it had to work, catastrophically developed in the animal best 
suited for it this thing we call the intellect, just as it had de- 
veloped in this and other animals the thing we call the eye. 
The intellect is, in fact, a higher kind of an eye. If with the 
ordinary eye we can see a stone wall, we can with the intel- 


lect see into the wall. And this because the intellect has power 
to judge, to analyze, to abstract, to synthesize, to classify, to 
reason. It can compare one object with another to note like- 
ness or unlikeness, agreement or disagreement. No matter 
how many qualities or attributes a thing may possess, it can 
separate them one from another, and one at a time abstract 
a quality or attribute and so make that the sole object of its 
judgment. And having these powers of analysis, abstraction, 
and judgment, it has endless power to synthesize, or construct 
new combinations, and to classify, or group substances and qual- 
ities in accordance with their likeness or agreement and give 
them names. And out of the intellect's power to classify 
comes its ability to reason, or go through the process of affirm- 
ing that whatever is true of an entire class must be true of any 
object comprehended in it. Certainly it is only as this intel- 
lectual faculty is present and brought into play that curiosity 
and the observation born of it can be anything more than idle, 
or can be so controlled as to lead to creative thinking. In 
fine, the great thing is not merely to observe, but to observe 
deliberately y critically; or, in John Dewey's words, to have 
" observation preceded by, accompanied by, and succeeded by 
taking thought" 

Never losing the child's instinct to explore, inspect, and in- 
vestigate, and never suffering aught of diminution of his 
youthful enthusiasm for improvement and progress, Taylor, 
of course, fully developed those powers of the intellect to 
which we just have called attention. We shall see, in fact, 
how capitally they entered into the upbuilding of his system 
of management. Here it is to be brought out that his intel- 
lectualization of industrial management was preceded by the 
intellectualization of himself — from his earliest boyhood, 
apparently, he strove to intellectualize all the departments of 
his own being, and thus manage his life as a whole in accord- 
ance with reason, right arrangement, and systematic regulation. 


And now let us see how in all this he proved himself the 
true spiritual child of the advanced Puritanism represented by 
Benjamin Franklin. 

Everyone will recall how Franklin drew up his table of the 
thirteen real moral virtues, and how diligently he exercised himself 
to attain them. But, for us, the significant feature of his enterprise 
was the realistic spirit in which it was conceived: the bold attempt 
to ground the virtues on reason and experience rather than authority; 
the assertion of his doctrine " that vicious actions are not hurtful 
because they are forbidden, but forbidden because they are hurtful, 
the nature of man alone considered." 

Having taken this ground, it became necessary for him to explore 
the nature of man and the universe. So Puritanism, which, in Robin- 
son and Mather, was predominantly rational, becomes in Franklin 
predominantly scientific. With magnificent fresh moral force, he 
seeks for the will of God in nature, and applies his discoveries with 
immense practical benevolence to ameliorating the common lot of 
mankind, and to diffusing good-will among men and nations. . . . 
His vision of the good life includes bringing every faculty of mind 
and body to its highest usefulness."^ 

This truly was also Frederick Taylor's attitude and course. 
It might be thought that he had too many negative virtues, 
and that they savored of the goody-goody. He did not drink, 
and would not permit anything alcoholic to be served in his 
home. He did not partake even of such stimulants as tea 
and coffee. He did not use tobacco in any form. But these 
self-imposed prohibitions were not, strictly speaking, based on 
moral considerations, but were grounded on " reason and ex- 
perience." They were, in fact, based on economic considera- 
tions as applied to himself personally j were the result of a 
truly scientific analysis of ways to conserve one's forces. 

In like manner is to be explained his devotion to simplicity 
of attire, of dressing only for utility. Here he economized 

^ Stuart P. Sherman in Atlantic Monthly, September, 1921. 


thought for his work. Another consideration that later entered 
into it was that as he wished his " new vision " to prevail 
among working people as among others, he would keep his 
dress from acting as a separating influence between him and 
them. Like Franklin, he deliberately elected never to be richj 
and this decision appears to have been based on his observation 
of the tendency of great wealth to dehumanize its possessor 
and generally to act as a separating influence from the mass. 

In practically all his writings he avoided the personal pro- 
noun of the first person singular. Modesty was inherent in 
his nature, as it must be in the case of all truly scientific men. 
Nevertheless, much of his modesty was calculated 3 observation 
and reason teaching him that the more you keep your person- 
ality in the background, the more chance your ideas have of 
influencing others. One of his close associates has said that 
he could make better use of other men than they could 
make of themselves j and the success he had in this particular 
may be largely attributed to his deliberate course of making it 
easy for those he worked with to believe that the ideas he in- 
stilled in them were their own, or that what they did was the 
important thing or even the whole thing. 

Back of all this intellection of his can be seen the grand 
aim of control. The importance he placed on control cannot 
be exaggerated. " Character" he wrote, " is the ability to 
control yourself, body and mindj the ability to do those things 
which your common-sense tells you you ought to doj the ability 
above all to do things which are disagreeable, which you do 
not like. It takes Iput little character to do difficult things if 
you like them. It takes a lot of character to do things which 
are tiresome, monotonous, and unpleasant." ^ 

His control, naturally, had its imperfections. Certainly, as 
a young man, he conspicuously failed to regulate his life 
properly in the matter of cultivating the power to relax and 

^ " Success " lecture. 


rest. In other particulars, again, he probably placed too much 
emphasis on control, and so made his philosophy excessively 
austere. We know that the cosmic cocktail of most of his Puri- 
tan forbears, distilled as it was almost solely from the He- 
brew Scriptures, would have been much improved by a dash 
of Greek spirit j and without being entirely blind to it, he him- 
self apparently was inclined to lose sight of the fact that the 
goal of spiritual striving is not the suppression or elimination 
of Nature, but the lifting up, idealization, and exaltation of 
Nature. If he was not without genuine appreciation of artis- 
tic achievement, the mental attitude and viewpoint of the 
artist hardly came within his ken, however much in his latter 
years he strove to comprehend it. These things, however, 
simply bespeak his human limitations, and particularly his 
consuming zealj and surely there can be no successful chal- 
lenge of his general position that the aim and end of all think- 
ing and all knowledge is control: first the control of selfj 
then through this the control of things external to self. 

All his principles he learned by practicing themj and just 
because the manual toil involved in his apprenticeship was dis- 
agreeable, he undoubtedly got satisfaction, high and grim, 
out of doing itj entering as early as eighteen on the path of 
self-discipline by which one's simple purpose becomes to one 
as iron necessity. 

Austere as was his personal philosophy, it appears to have 
been at all times relieved from gloom by his love of mischief 
and his amiability and sociability. Most decidedly he would 
have objected to bear-baiting, not because it gave pleasure 
to the spectators, but because it gave pain to the bear. He 
loved to see people happy, even if he thought they often were 
mistaken as to where real happiness lay, and any suffering, 
whether human or animal, sickened him. And though while 
serving his apprenticeship he worked hard ten hours a day, 
he still found time for indulging his social nature. 


AS a matter of fact there was included in his sociability 
a full measure of those qualities which go to form a 
genius for friendship j namely, geniality, generosity, 
thoughtfulness, tenderness, and, above all, magnanimity and 
loyalty. And from his infancy he appears to have had a 
marked faculty for winning the affection of persons of all 
social ranks. 

It was our privilege to meet several of the persons who 
served as helpers in his parents' household or in that of a 
family connection, and the things they remembered about 
him, small in themselves, are not without their large signifi- 
cance. Here, for instance, is something that, after forty 
years, still made Amanda Montier, who was Emily Taylor's 
waitress, heartily laugh as she thought of it: Thomas Hughes, 
the family's colored coachman, had a wife and a regular step- 
ladder of babies. Up the steep Church Lane hill that led 
from Main Street to Ross Street slowly struggled one day 
Hughes's wife, pushing a carriage containing no less than three 
of her youngest, while several more of the children trudged 
alongside. Who now, stepping briskly along, should over- 
take this colored family on the hill but " Mister Fred," and 
what does that " grand and noble " young man do but seize 
the handle of the carriage and push that load of pickaninnies 
all the rest of the way home! 

Significant this incident surely is of what remained one of 
Taylor's fundamental traits. It is related of Napoleon at 
St. Helena that " when walking with Mrs. Balcombe, some 
servants, carrying heavy boxes, passed by on the road, and 



Mrs. Balcombe desired them, in rather an angry tone, to keep 
back," but " Napoleon interfered, saying ^ Respect the burden, 
madam.' " And it is reported of Emerson that " he was 
drawn more to Napoleon by this speech than by any other 
story told of him, and he frequently used it as a lesson to his 
children and others, of honor and consideration for laborers 
and servants." All this well expresses the mature attitude 
of Taylor. He regarded it as a necessary part of his sons' 
education as gentlemen that, through actual experience, they 
learn respect for a day's work and the men who do it. The 
notion that household servants are, as he expressed it, " dis- 
tinctly inferior beings " made him white hot with indigna- 
tion. He had an idea that it would be a good thing for young 
women, born to comfort or luxury, to serve a year or two as 
household helpers themselves, or, say, as employees of a 
hotel. He not only " respected the burden," but helped with 
it. " One day when I was walking with Mr. Taylor along 
Boylston Street, Boston," writes an associate of his, " we caught 
up with a workman who was carrying a heavy plank to an office 
building in course of construction. Mr. Taylor got his shoul- 
der under one end of the plank and walked with it to the place 
where it was to be dropped, this being in line with our travel." 
The piano lessons he took while abroad were sufficiently 
thorough to enable him to give creditable performances of 
such compositions as Weber's " Invitation to the Dance," even 
if, in his mature years, he touched the piano only when some 
outbreak of the prankishness he never lost inspired him to 
give a burlesque performance. The dancing lessons he took 
abroad also were of use to him only in his boyhood's days. 
While he continued with his dancing he pursued a course af- 
fording not only a most interesting example of how he thought 
everything out but also a fine illustration of the " ego-altruis- 
tic " philosophy that throughout his life governed his personal 
and business relations. Before going to a dance he used to list, 


as systematically as he could, the attractive girls on the one 
hand and the " wallflowers " on the other hand, with the object 
of dividing his time equally between them. You see, it was the 
" split fifty-fifty." He had no morbid passion for self-sac- 
rifice. But he was entirely willing to be reasonable and strike 
with society a just balance. He recognized that he was both 
an individual and a social being. 

Even while he worked ten hours a day in a machine shop, 
he retained his membership in a choral society and in the 
Young America Cricket Club, which later was merged with the 
Germantown Cricket Club. A tenor, he used to sing with 
deep feeling " A Warrior Bold." In the choral society he 
stood near David Bispham, destined to become famous as a 
barytone. Often in his later years Taylor, in deprecating the 
luxury of the modern country club, used to point, by way of 
contrast, to the simplicity of things at the Young America 
Cricket Club. Though he played cricket, he cared more for 
baseball. One of the leading activities at the Cricket Club 
was the giving of amateur theatricals, and in these perform- 
ances he easily was a star. 

He was not, on the whole, what you would call a clever 
man. Certainly his forte was not mental agility, but systematic 
observation and sustained thinking concerning the results of 
his observation. In one particular, however, he had marked 
cleverness: as a mimic he probably could have earned a good 
living on the professional stage, and this seems to have been 
a part of a broadly dramatic gift which, in his highly unique 
way, he was destined to capitalize in his business. 

One of his best performances at the Cricket Club was in 
the part of a broken-English-speaking German doctor j but 
what this virile young man was most celebrated for was his 
female impersonations, these being made necessary by the fact 
that only the members of the club, who were all young men, 
took part in the performances. Helped by his sister to prepare 


his costumes, Fred Taylor impersonated young ladies with 
such fidelity as entirely to deceive even her who, of all those 
in the audience, had the most reason to be familiar with his 
true personality. 

Once when he was to appear in the role of a young woman, 
he and his friend, Joseph Clark, who also was to appear in such 
a role, went in advance to a photographer's and made an en- 
gagement to have their pictures taken, but without telling 
the photographer they were coming in feminine costumes. 
When they arrived in a carriage at the appointed time, and 
Taylor, carrying out then and there his role of young woman, 
asked to have their pictures taken on the spot, the photographer 
protested that he could not do it, as he had an engagement 
at that hour with two young men. Working himself up into 
a feminine pet, Taylor proceeded to argue the matter, and as 
the photographer was beginning to lose patience, he nearly 
bowled that man over by suddenly changing to his natural 
voice and exclaiming, " Now, look here, why the hell can't 
you take our pictures! " 

The foregoing expletive will serve to introduce us to a 
most decidedly curious fact about this descendant of a long line 
of Puritans and Quakers: while serving his apprenticeship, he 
not only picked up a habit of swearing, but deliberately culti- 
vated and retained it. 

Swearing, of course, is a sort of mill language, and of the 
steel mill particularly. These mills are not elegant places. 
There is a deal of dirt and sweat. There is much human na- 
ture in the rough. And they are not quiet places. Violent 
hammer blows are struck. The grinding of metal on metal 
is harsh. You have to shout to make yourself heard. And all 
this cannot help but affect the mentality of those who work 
there. As a boss, you often have to resort to violence of lan- 
guage, if only to keep your men from doing things that im- 
peril their limbs and lives. It ought to be readily recognized 


that this swearing does not necessarily involve any disrespect 
to the deity J that, on the contrary, it usually means no more 
than what a teacher in a girls' school means when he says, 
" Now, young ladies, I am thoroughly in earnest." Very 
likely it should not be necessary to swear in a mill, but with 
characteristic thoroughness Taylor wished to possess himself 
of whatever advantage there might be in as nearly as possible 
speaking the language of those with whom he dealt, of meet- 
ing them on their own level. He often regretted his inability 
to swap with his workmen a chew of tobacco. Apparently 
he did not so much swear at men as swear to them, and this, 
as he went on, was for the benefit not so much of the rank and 
file as of men in the management, notably foremen. 

However, his swearing did not end here. With his in- 
tense feeling, he was prone quickly to exhaust the ordinary 
resources of human speech when talking to people in general. 
Then, it is probable that, having placed so many interdictions 
upon himself, he felt an imperative need of indulging himself 
in at least one vice. Certainly his swearing was identified with 
his love of mischief j the way he would let loose a few good 
ones in the presence of the ultra-respectable and the ultra-staid 
suggested the act of a small boy who explodes a firecracker 
under the chair of a dignified senior. His swearing was in- 
deed unique. He did not swear when most men would, and he 
did swear when most men would not dream of it. As far as 
we have heard, he never swore on the golf course. But he 
did swear when lecturing at Harvard, though, as was the case 
when he was in his own home, it was practically all done in 
telling stories and in quoting other men. 

As was true of all his other activities, he steadily improved 
his swearing, made it less amateurish and more artistic j but 
the fact is that he never became able to do it quite like one 
to the manner born. The high-grade workmen with whom he 
came in contact appear invariably to have been first puzzled 

An impersonation in amateur theatricals 


and then amused by it. They easily could feel the incongruity 
between this habit and his general character. And when we 
consider that there is nothing a self-respecting man resents 
more quickly than a conscious attempt on another's part to 
come down to his level, it is significant that even those work- 
men who saw through Taylor's swearing were not offended by 
it, but were willing to give him credit for good intentions. 

Few indeed were the people in any calling who were of- 
fended. On account of its contrast with his Chesterfieldian 
manners, its very amateurishness, its suggestions of a naughty 
boy attitude, its transparent simplicity and enthusiastic good 
faith, most people undoubtedly found that it lent to his per- 
sonality an added and a piquant charm. " Mr. Taylor," says 
Miss Ida M. Tarbell, " never seemed to me more of a gentle- 
man than when he was swearing." And we know of one digni- 
fied elderly gentleman who was wont to remark, plaintively: 
" I wish I could see Mr. Taylor oftenerj I do so love to hear 
him swear." 

It hardly should be necessary to say that his language never 
partook of anything foul. He had an inbred distaste for that 
sort of thing which was akin to physical fastidiousness. " The 
slightest vulgarity of any kind," says an old friend of his, 
" not only disgusted him but drove him off. I have seen him 
leave the theatre for this reason, and I have seen him leave 
groups of distinguished men for the same reason. He always 
contrived to do it in such a way as not to give offense but to 
leave the impression that he was not interested." 

We may imagine that no feathered, non-webfooted mother 
ever was more amazed and bewildered upon seeing her chicks 
take to water than was Emily Taylor when her offspring 
brought back from the shop a readiness to use words begin- 
ning with a big, big D. But that young imp, when reproved, 
would only laugh and say: "Why mother, you don't under- 
stand the reason for it." The incident seems to us symbolic. 


Not the least of the many thrilling discoveries he made in 
the shop was that men who, tobacco in mouth, slouched along 
the streets in greasy overalls, who hardly looked up and 
scarcely were willing to speak to you politely as you passed 
them, who had had little formal schooling and could not speak 
grammatically — that such men were likely to prove, when at 
length you got to know them, as mentally keen as anyone 
else, besides being all-around good fellows/ One workman 
in particular made a deep impression on him. 

The very best training I had [he wrote in 1910] was in the early 
years of apprenticeship in the pattern shop, when I was under a work- 
man of extraordinary abih'ty, coupled with fine character. I there 
learned appreciation, respect and admiration for the every-day work- 
ing mechanic. 

To his own people he remained absolutely loyal. Devoted 
as he was to his work, he never had any doubt as to where, 
first of all, his allegiance lay. His thought began with his 
own household, and from this was extended, through his ties 
of blood and friendship, to the world at large. So long as 
his mother lived, he seldom was so busy that he could not pay 
her calls of affection and respect. He remained his father's 
" Bub." 

Nevertheless, in the true Puritan spirit of revolt, he took 
into his hands in his youth " the sceptre of his own con- 
trol." In the workshop he came in contact with something 
enlarging, and that the years but served to reenf orce this vision 
will appear from what Birge Harrison writes us: 

About the last time that I saw my friend was at a little dinner at 
the Hotel Bellevue-Stradford in Philadelphia, where the guests present, 
besides our two selves, were Mr. Taylor's sons and a young ironworker 
from one of the big steel mills in which he was interested. This youth's 

^ Substantially the language used by Taylor in referring to his apprentice- 
ship days in an address delivered in 1909 before the Society for the Promotion 
of Engineering Education. 


mother was a washerwoman, but he was a fine, manly fellow, and 
the three boys went off to the theatre together at the end of the repast. 
Democracy with Fred was no theory; it was a rule of life, and he 
felt that if he could so train his own sons that they too should under- 
stand — should see and truly believe this greatest of all truths — he 
could leave them no finer legacy. 

It was not merely that he had his sympathies enlarged while 
serving his apprenticeship. He heard a call, saw a beckoning, 
received a summons to prepare himself for the " ardor and 
discipline and renunciation " of a typical Puritan pilgrimage. 
He had his " eye on the bad industrial conditions which pre- 
vailed at the time and gave a good deal of time and thought 
to some possible remedy for them." In fine, he already had 
formed the habit of observing critically y and it was this that 
led him, in 1878, when he was twenty-two, to go to Midvale. 

We are told that " in one of those brilliant divagations with 
which Mr. H. G. Wells is wont to enrich his novels," he says: 

When the intellectual history of this time comes to be written, 
nothing, I think, will stand out more strikingly than the empty gulf 
in quality between the superb and richly fruitful scientific investiga- 
tions that are going on, and the general thought of other educated 
sections of the community. I do not mean that scientific men are, 
as a whole, a class of supermen, dealing with and thinking about 
everything in a way altogether better than the common run of human- 
ity, but in their field they think and work with an intensity, an in- 
tegrity, a breadth, boldness, patience, thoroughness, and faithfulness 
— excepting only a few artists — which puts their work out of all 
comparison with any other human activity. ... In these particular 
directions the human mind has achieved a new and higher quality 
of attitude and gesture, a veracity, a self -detachment, and self- 
abnegating vigor of criticism that tend to spread out and must ulti- 
mately spread out to every other human affair.^ 

1 Quoted in T/ie Mind in the Making, James Harvey Robinson j Harper 
& Brothers, 1921. Mr. Robinson's book is essentially a plea for bringing the 
mental attitude that inspires the natural sciences to bear on human affairs — 
the very thing Taylor did in industry. 


When he wrote these words, Mr. Wells could not know 
that, as early as the 1870's, this precise mental attitude had 
been taken into industry to be applied to its management in 
a way destined to have an ever-widening influence. Few of us 
have known it in all these succeeding years j but looking 
back now, we can see that it was a dramatic moment — the 
herald, indeed, of what Taylor, in view of the novelty of this 
attitude and gesture in industry, was fully justified in calling a 
" great mental revolution." 


A MAN is relieved and gay when he has put his heart into his work and done his best. . . 
Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string. Accept the place the 
divine providence has found for you, the society of your contemporaries, the 
connection of events. Great men have always done so, and confided them- 
selves childlike to the genius of their age, betraying their perception that the 
absolutely trustworthy was seated at their heart, working through their hands, 
predominating in all their being. 

Emerson's Self-Reliance 



THE United States has no metropolis in the Greek 
and general European sense. Certain cities may be 
supreme in certain particulars, as New York in 
finance, but there is no city whose supremacy is general. For 
many years Philadelphia has ranked in size after New York 
and Chicago, and throughout these years it has been a publish- 
ing, commercial, and financial centre of first-rate importance. 
All along, however, its prosperity mainly has rested on its 
highly diversified manufacturing j its chief products being 
machinery, locomotives, iron wares, ships, carpets, woolen 
and cotton goods, leather, sugar, drugs, and chemicals. 

The first successful locomotive. Old Ironsides, was built 
in 1832 at the great Baldwin Locomotive Works in Philadel- 
phia. It was a carpet made in Philadelphia about 1791 that 
led Alexander Hamilton to place a tariff on all imported car- 
pets, and this is said to be the origin of the whole American 
protective tariff system. What is certain is that Philadelphia 
has been the leading stronghold of this tariff system ever since 
it has been in vogue. Frederick Taylor believed that a tariff 
easily could be made too high. Still, a protective tariff man 
he was. Though, because of his disapproval of the actions 
of both William H. Taft and Theodore Roosevelt at that 
time, he in 1 9 1 2 voted for Woodrow Wilson, he wrote a friend 
that he " did it with some misgivings, on account of the tariff 
question," and in the midst of this campaign he said in a letter: 
" I look upon our protective policy as one of the finest that has 
been introduced into this country. While I think the duties 
ought to be lowered, I am a strong protectionist." 



At the present time, the city stretches over an area of 
about 130 square miles. Except in those sections that the city 
has gained through annexation rather than expansion, the 
original checker-board street plan has been closely followed 
out as the city has grown. The two main streets are Market 
and Broad. Market Street runs east and west. Broad north 
and south. In a square at the intersection of these streets 
stands the $25,000,000 City Hall. Market Street long has 
been known as a mystic line separating the social sheep from 
the goats. No " nice " people, so it is said, are to be found 
north of this street — that is, not unless you keep on going 
north and a little west of north far enough to reach the hills 
on which is situated Germantown. What this principally 
means is that it is in the bottom-land section to the north of 
Market Street that practically all the city's manufacturing is 
done, and that, besides the factories, there are here rows and 
rows of working people's homes, mostly two-story brick struc- 
tures, neat enough in the main, but in their box-like uniformity 
and cheek-by-jowl construction, making anything but an 
esthetic appeal. 

At the extreme northwest of this manufacturing district, 
about four miles out from the City Hall, is the subsection 
called (strangely enough from that social viewpoint) Nice- 
town j and it is here, at the very foot of the slope leading to 
Germantown, that we find situated, where they have been 
ever since the enterprise was established in 1867, the works of 
the Midvale Steel Company. 

Now, all the probabilities are that this industrial plant, which 
was within two miles of young Taylor's home in Ross Street, 
Germantown, was the only one existing in this country in 1878 
and for many years later which would have given Taylor 
anything like the opportunity to follow his natural bent for 
scientific investigation that for a decade he there was destined 
to enjoy. 


'With a president who was devoted to and deeply versed in 
scientific methods, and having for its other principal officers 
men of scientific education and attainment, the Midvale Steel 
Company stood out, in 1878, like a beacon light in American 

To appreciate this, we must have some understanding of 
what was then the general situation. 

It will be recalled that the year 1878 was on the threshold 
of the period in which the development of machine-tools, 
stimulated by the invention of the steam engine in the latter 
part of the eighteenth century,^ reached a point marking the 
real beginning of large-scale production as we know it to-day. 

From 1880 to 1890, the number of wage earners in this country 
increased by one and a half millions, a growth twice as great as in 
any preceding decade. The gain in capital during the eighties was 
three and three quarters billion dollars, or more than three times as 
great as in any preceding decade. 

Even more phenomenal and significant than this expansion of 
manufacturing was that revolution in method known as the introduc- 
tion of large-scale production. Government reports and general 
opinion unite in placing the date for this transformation at about 
1880. In the iron and steel industry the movement was well under 
way in the seventies, but in a greater number of industries the 
apex was reached in the eighties.^ 

As it was in England that the industrial revolution ushered 
in by the steam engine began, it is not strange that mechanical 

^ Previous to this time, machine-tools indeed were few, crude, and of 
limited application, due to the fact that there was not, save only in the case 
of water power, sufficient power to drive them. And there was no thought 
of transmitting power from water, except for very limited distances, " The 
steam engine, however," says the Encyclopedia Britannica, " changed all this. 
On the one hand the hitherto unheard-of accuracy of fit required for its working 
parts created a demand for tools of increased power and precision, and on the 
other it rendered the use of such tools possible in almost any situation. Thus, 
acting and reacting on each other, machine-tools and steam engines have grown 
side by side." 

2 Horace B. Drury, address in 191 6 at Ohio State University. 


engineering should there have made its first advances in the 
direction of a true science. In his Economy of Machinery 
and Manujacturingy published in London in 1832, Charles 
Babbage, the eminent mathematician and mechanician, wrote: 
" There is perhaps no trade or profession existing in which 
there is so much quackery, so much ignorance of the scientific 
principles, and of the history of their own art, with respect to 
its resources and extent, as is to be met with amongst mechan- 
ical projectors." Called at the time a " hymn in honor of 
machinery," Babbage's book appears to have borne early fruit 
in his country as it was a plea for the correction of the evil re- 
ferred to in the words we have quoted.^ At all events, it is cer- 
tain that by the 1870's the English, notably in the case of the 
firm of that great engineer. Sir Joseph Whitworth, had made 
remarkable strides in the scientific designing and construction 
of machinery. 

Elsewhere in Europe also much progress had been made as 
early as 1878 toward the general recognition by practical men 
of mechanical engineering as a science. 

In this country, on the other hand, the very idea that there 
could be a true science of mechanical devices continued to be 
generally scorned, and so low a place did the whole engineer- 
ing profession then occupy in the general life of the community 
that even an engineer with a college degree was not likely to 
be considered eligible socially. Here is Taylor's own vivid 
picture of what the situation then was in this particular: 

One of the most recent developments of the experts has been that 
of the Science of Engineering. So recent is this development that 
I can remember distinctly the time when an educated scientific 
engineer was looked upon with profound suspicion by practically the 
whole manufacturing community. 

^ Presently we shall see that as Babbage's book was a plea for a great 
deal more than the scientific designing of machinery, it was a remarkable fore- 
shadowing of Taylor's lifework. 


The successful engineers of my boyhood were mostly men who 
were endowed with a fine sense of proportion — men who had the 
faculty of carrying in their minds the size and general shape of parts 
of machinery, for instance, which had proved themselves successful, 
and who through their intuitive judgment were able to make a shrewd 
guess at the proper size and strength of the parts required for a new 

It was my pleasure and honor to know intimately one of the 
greatest and one of the last of this school of empirical engineers — 
Mr. John Fritz, — who had such an important part in the develop- 
ment of the Bessemer process, as well as almost all of the early ele- 
ments of the steel industry of this country. 

When I was a boy and first saw Mr. Fritz, most of the drawings 
which he made for his new machinery were done with a piece of 
chalk on the floor of the pattern room, or with a stick on the floor 
of the blacksmith shop, and in many cases the verbal description of 
the parts of the machines which he wished to have made were more 
important than his drawings. Time and again he himself did not 
know just what he wanted until after the pattern or model was made 
and he had an opportunity of seeing the shape of the piece which he 
was designing. One of his favorite sayings whenever a new ma- 
chine was finished was, " Now, boys, we have got her done, let's 
start her up and see why she doesn't work." 

The engineer of his day confidently expected that the first machine 
produced would fail to work, but that by studying its defects he 
would be able to make a success of his second machine. 

Do not for a moment misunderstand me. I am not in the small- 
est degree belittling Mr. John Fritz. He was one of the greatest 
men of his time — a man of remarkable originality, force of charac- 
ter, and general engineering ability. What I am endeavoring to 
do is to make it clear to you that the Science of Engineering is a very 
recent development, as are, in fact, the sciences of chemistry, physics, 
and even astronomy. 

The Science of Engineering started only when a few experts (who 
were invariably despised and sneered at by the engineers of their 
day) made the assertion that engineering practice should be founded 


upon exact knowledge of facts rather than upon general experience 
and observation/ 

As it was with mechanical engineering in 1878, so it 
was with chemistry and metallurgy, those two sciences on 
which all the metal industries rest today. Here, indeed, is a 
curious fact, or one that probably will seem so to many of 
the younger generation: Though civilization did not begin 
until man began to learn how to use metals, it is seldom that 
the metals as supplied by nature are entirely suited to man's 
use. Each has its strong and its weak points. To build up 
a real civilization, man had to mix nature's metals in combi- 
nations called alloys, so that the weak points of one would be 
offset by the strong points of another. However, it was not 
until the late nineteenth century that man began to make the 
alloying of metals a matter of really scientific study. Previ- 
ous to that time, such valuable combinations as were discov- 
ered were mostly the result of chance mixings. And it took 
years and years to' convince the general run of people in the 
metal industries, at least In this country, that the old empirical 
method was not good enough. 

That all our sciences, even physics and astronomy, are com- 
paratively recent may readily be explained by the fact that 
truly scientific thinking Is comparatively recent, at least as 
far as direct attachment with the past is concerned. Several 
thousand years before Christ, the Egyptians must have done 
a deal of scientific thinking to have accomplished their mechan- 
ical wonders. And did not Aristotle, with his genius for an- 
alysis and classification, trace out the laws of correct thinking 
or reasoning some three hundred years before Christ? But 
again and again such critical thinking as was done In the past 
fell Into a profound desuetude owing to the burden of sus- 

^ From address on " Laws versus Private Opinion as a Basis of Manage- 
ment " made by Taylor in 1914 at Young Men's Christian Association in 


taining it, so that each recurrence of it summoned men to a 
practically new way of thinking and thus was more like a rev- 
olution than a renaissance. 

Again there is the fact that, however much scientific think- 
ing may have been done previous to the writings of Francis 
Bacon in the early seventeenth century, it remained for these 
writings definitely to promulgate the inductive philosophy 
which, consciously or unconsciously, must actuate all truly 
scientific investigation : — Conclusions cannot go beyond as- 
sumptions j if your assumptions are wrong, correct reasoning 
will not keep your conclusions from being false. Don't as- 
sume. Don't guess. Seek the facts, not to support an assump- 
tion, but solely to learn the truth. Seek all the facts j not only 
those that can be gathered in, but also those that can be de- 
veloped by experiment. Verify and organize your facts j sub- 
ject them to intelligent and unbiased analysis. Then, and not 
until then, resort to deduction and get your laws. 

In passing it is to be noted that Taylor's youth was in the 
years when two marvelous examples of what comes from fol- 
lowing the Baconian philosophy were working, at least in 
academic and other cultural circles, a prodigious change in 
man's apprehension of this world in which he lives. It was 
in 1859 that Darwin published the Origin of Species, and in 
1 871 that he published the Descent of Man. 

All this signifies that Taylor appeared on life's scene at the 
onset of a time of great intellectual, religious, industrial, and 
social upheaval such as attends the breaking up of an old order 
to give place to a new. And back of it all was the new impetus 
lent to the old spirit of inquiry by the establishment of cor- 
rect methods of investigation. 

No form of science, however, was destined to gain general 
recognition in American industry for many a year. In fact, 
old-timers in industry are inclined to believe that it was not 
until about 1898, the year of our war with Spain, that the 


generality of executives in this country first began to wake up, 
even in connection with such things as chemistry, metallurgy, 
and mechanics, to the dollar-and-cents value of scientific as 
opposed to rule-of-thumb methods. It is certain that the dec- 
ade 1 900-1 9 10 was one of brilliant developments in metal- 
lurgical chemistry especially, and a large part of this can be 
directly attributed to Taylor's metal-cutting investigations. 
Apart from metallurgy, the decade 1 900-19 10 saw a great 
awakening in American industry to the value of the scien- 
tifically-trained expert in general j this being reflected in the 
much greater attention given at colleges and universities to 
specialized industrial education. 

It is pretty safe to say that, previous to the decade 1900- 
19 10, it was characteristic of Americans as a race to rely for 
their industrial success almost entirely on their superior natural 
resources and on what they complacently believed to be their 
own superior natural ability. Evidence of this is found in the 
Monthly Consular Reports of the United States for January, 
1905, which included an account of the impressions of Amer- 
ican industry gathered by the German educators, scientists, 
merchants, manufacturers, and engineers who had visited the 
recently-held St. Louis Exposition. These Germans advised 
their fellow countrymen that they need not fear the competi- 
tion of American industry, because the advantages from our 
natural resources were offset by certain disadvantages. 

Of these disadvantages, especially significant was that common 
American temperament which they described as a state of careless 
confidence, a " feeh'ng of complacent satisfaction with everything 
American"; a feeling that in industry and in commerce, as in other 
manifestations of national life, there is no need of conscious, con- 
certed action looking towards improvement and greater efficiency. 
As one expression of this careless confidence, they cited the absence 
of special industrial education and the " reliance on a general and 
more or less superficial education, together with natural adaptation." ^ 

■^ Industrial Education, by Dr. Harlow S. Person, p. 4. 


So now this brings us to the question: if right up to and 
through the 1890's it was characteristic of "hard-headed" 
business men to associate science in all its forms with academic 
detachment from the world of practical affairs, how did it come 
about that such a different order prevailed at Midvale? In 
our next chapter we shall have the answer. 




UST after the close of the Civil War, or in 1867, a group 
of Philadelphia capitalists, in furtherance of their project 
to establish in their city a general steel-manufacturing 
business, brought over here one William Butcher, a product 
of the cutlery industry of Sheffield, England. For its time it 
was a very venturesome project, and as it was conducted at 
the beginning it was foredoomed. 

Steel, we know, is a modified form of iron, not occurring 
in nature, and is superior to iron in hardness and in elasticity 
or tensile strength. How iron is modified so as to make steel, 
is a subject upon which volumes have been written. Suffice 
it here to say that all forms of steel have their beginning in a 
process mainly having to do with removing the excess of car- 
bon found in iron as it is first recovered from the ore. By this 
process is produced the metal that may be called ordinary steel 
to distinguish it from various special steels that are made 
by the addition in various proportions of various alloys. 

Until the electric furnace was developed commercially along 
about 1 9 10, the prevailing methods of making ordinary steel 
were limited to the crucible, the Bessemer, and the open-hearth. 
The crucible process is hoary with agej up to the middle of the 
nineteenth century it was substantially the only process, and 
until the electric furnace was developed it remained the only 
way in which could be produced steel capable of being so treated 
as to make it suitable for cutting tools, weapons, and other 
things requiring steel of special hardness. The Bessemer proc- 
ess, developed commercially in 1858, so cheapened the produc- 



tion of steel as to make it practical for such things as building 
material. The open-hearth process, developed a little later, 
gave a more dependable product than did the Bessemer, and 
therefore open-hearth steel became in special demand for rails 
and other things that must withstand heavy pressure and wear. 

By many persons in the trade the year 1867 is fixed upon 
as about the time when the open-hearth process was perfected 
commercially J and this was the year when those Philadelphia 
capita-lists brought William Butcher from England. Not 
only was the open-hearth process then in its infancy, but the 
whole steel industry, as we know it to-day, had hardly begun to 
develop. It was not until about 1880 that steel, for purposes 
other than those of tools, began to replace iron on a large scale j 
manifest as were its advantages over iron for many uses, it 
had slowly to make its way against prejudice. Moreover, there 
is the fact that the sciences of chemistry and metallurgy had 
not yet gained any lodgment in this industry. 

Butcher's Steel Works, we believe, was the name under 
which the new Philadelphia company first did business. Ap- 
parently the only steel-making process that the former Shef- 
field cutlery man was sure of was the crucible j but the loco- 
motive tires he made by this process proved as unreliable as 
they were costly. Eventually the works came almost to a 
standstill, and a heavy loss was incurred. The reorganization 
of the business under the name of the Midvale Steel Company 
then was undertaken by two of its principal creditors: William 
Sellers, head of William Sellers & Company, manufacturers 
of machine-tools, and E. W. Clark, the banker. Sellers and 
Clark became owners of equal amounts of stock, and between 
them they owned all of it, with the exception of about a hun- 
dred shares held by James A. Wright, an exporting and im- 
porting merchant. Of the reorganized company. Sellers, in 
1873, became president. 

In his writings and addresses, Taylor was wont to refer to 


William Sellers as " undoubtedly the most noted engineer in 
this country in his time," " a truly scientific experimenter 
and a bold innovator," and " a man away beyond his generation 
in progress." That these encomiums were no more than just, 
we may readily believe. In the nineteenth century. Sellers 
presented in his scholarly habit of mind a remarkable contrast 
to what was generally true of Americans in industry, and 
there can be no doubt that, above all other persons in industry, 
he had a powerful influence upon Frederick Taylor in Taylor's 
formative years. 

He was born in 1824 in Delaware county, Pennsylvania, 
and was a direct descendant of Samuel Sellers, one of the 
Quakers to come from England to Pennsylvania in 1682. All 
the formal education he received was at a private school espe- 
cially built and maintained by his father and two relations for 
the training of their children. Leaving this school when four- 
teen, he worked for seven years as an apprentice to the machin- 
ist's trade in the shop of his uncle, John Morton Poole, of 
Wilmington, Delaware. But though he had little formal edu- 
cation, he apparently inherited a scientific bent. We read that 
his ancestors " had a long and memorable connection with sci- 
ence. From the organization of the American Philosophical 
Society some one of his family has always been a member of 
it. His paternal grandfather, John Sellers, then a member of 
the Assembly of Pennsylvania, was appointed by this society, 
in connection with three other members, to observe the transit 
of Venus in 1761, and his maternal grandfather, William 
Poole, came from England to observe the same transit and re- 
mained here." ^ 

William Sellers was president of the Franklin Institute of 
Philadelphia from 1864 to 1867, and a trustee of the Uni- 
versity of Pennsylvania for thirty-seven years. At the time 

^ From the memorial issued by Franklin Institute upon the occasion of 
William Sellers' death in 1905. 



Age about 30; a portrait still to be found in family albums of Midvale 

workmen who served under him 


he was managing his machine-tool business and was president 
of the Midvale Steel Company he also was directing the 
Edgmoor Iron Company ^ which company, formed by him in 
1868, supplied all the iron structural material for the build- 
ings of the Centennial Exhibition held in Philadelphia in 
1876, and all the structural material used in the Brooklyn 
Bridge, with the exception of the suspension cables. 

As an inventor and as a designer of machine-tools. Sellers 
attained a position in this country that engineers deem com- 
parable to that of Whitworth in England. And as Sellers at 
the beginning had to contend here with far more primitive 
machine-building general conditions than Whitworth did in 
England, it is held that the success he achieved was the more 
noteworthy. Whitworth himself is reported to have referred 
to Sellers as the " greatest mechanical engineer in the world," 
and it is hard to conceive of a finer tribute to an inventor and 
constructor than was paid to Sellers by the International Jury 
that examined his exhibit of machine-tools at the aforemen- 
tioned Centennial Exhibition. So great a start did Sellers gain 
in this country as a constructor of machine-tools that it has been 
said, with playful exaggeration, that he could have had a plant 
stretching from Philadelphia half way to New York, if only 
he had put as much genius and enterprise into selling as he 
did into constructing. 

At the Sellers plant were employed at various times as 
draftsmen no less than three men destined to become inti- 
mately associated with Taylor in connection with Scientific 
Management. These, in the order of their appearance there, 
were Henry R. Towne, Wilfred Lewis, and Carl G. Barth. 
Towne, who went to the Sellers plant shortly after the Civil 
War (he was Taylor's senior by twelve years), left there sev- 
eral years before Taylor went to Midvale.^ On the other 

^ It was in 1868 that Mr. Towne became associated with Linus Yale in 
the manufacture of locks and other ingenious and highly wrought forms of 


hand, the employment of Lewis and Barth at Sellers' to some 
extent coincided with Taylor's employment at Midvale. 

It was one of Sellers' beliefs that if a machine was right, it 
would look right j and there is here something of interest in 
connection with the career of Taylor: All grace arises from the 
elimination of the superfluous. Thus if Sellers viewed a ma- 
chine with an artistic eye, if his machines were noted for what 
was then an exceptional beauty of form and line, this can be 
strictly related to his very practical (yet for his time very ad- 
vanced) habit of weeding out non-essentials, of insisting that 
everything about a machine be made directly contributory to 
the end for which the machine was designed. It would ap- 
pear, then, that Taylor's time study of labor operations, elim- 
inating as it did superfluous motions, was the extension to the 
handling of machines of the principle to which Sellers adhered 
in designing them. 

A striking example of Sellers' innovating spirit is seen in 
the fact that, along about 1876, he investigated in his machine- 
building plant the best shapes and angles for cutting tools, 
adopted standard shapes and angles, representing compro- 
mises on those used by the most experienced machinists, and at- 
tempted to have the tools used in his plant issued to the work- 
men ready ground to these shapes and angles with a machine 
of his own devising. Here before Taylor went to Midvale 
was a fairly close anticipation of the Taylor principle of stand- 

The rescuing of the Midvale Company from bankruptcy 
may be ascribed primarily to the general business ability of 
Sellers and Clark and to the encouragement given by Sellers, 
as president, to all scientific methods. But neither Sellers nor 

hardware, and the Yale & Towne plant became one of the first to adopt the 
Taylor System. Mr. Lewis became the head of the Tabor Manufacturing 
Company, the plant upon which Taylor chiefly relied as a practical demonstra- 
tion of Scientific Management's workings. Mi*. Barth, through his mathe- 
matical genius, became foremost among those who aided Taylor to round out 
his system. 


Clark was a practical steel manj and the credit for putting 
the company on its feet, as far as the operating end was con- 
cerned, belongs to two young New Englanders named Charles 
A. Brinley and Russell W. Davenport, ably assisted by a 
young Germantowner of Swedish ancestry named Guilliaem 

Both Brinley and Davenport were scientifically trained in 
chemistry and metallurgy, having studied under O. D. Allen, 
professor of metallurgical chemistry at the Sheffield Scientific 
School of Yale University. That this Professor Allen was a 
practical man is indicated by the fact that he had been em- 
ployed by that distinguished Philadelphia Quaker, Joseph 
Wharton, to study in Europe processes of preparing nickel, and 
with Wharton was an important contributor to the development 
of the nickel industry in this country. The founder of the 
Wharton School of Finance and Economy at the University of 
Pennsylvania, Mr. Wharton always will have the distinction of 
being one of the first financiers in this country to recognize the 
value in industry of the scientific expert, and to this far-sight- 
edness of his he undoubtedly owed a large part of his success as 
a pioneer developer, not only of the nickel industry here, but 
also of the iron and steel industry. As Wharton was the man 
who induced the Bethlehem Steel Company to employ Taylor 
to systemize its works, we in these pages shall hear of him 

It was in 1872, immediately following his three years' post- 
graduate study under Professor Allen, that Brinley came to 
the Midvale Company as chemist. If his was not the first 
chemical laboratory set up in the steel industry in this country, 
it was one of the very first. A year after he came to Midvale, 
Brinley was placed in charge of the metallurgical work or the 
actual steel making. And in the following year of 1874, when 
the chemist who succeeded him had died of malaria, he 
brought to Midvale as chemist his old Sheffield School room- 


mate, Russell W. Davenport, who had just returned from 
study in Europe. 

Brinley had established his laboratory on the lower floor of 
an old four-room workman's house that stood across the tracks 
of the branch of the Reading Railroad that ran by the works. 
And so as to be near the works day and night, he had taken up 
his bachelor abode, with his little Scotch terrier, in one of the 
rooms over this laboratory — a room that was just large 
enough to contain a bed, a washstand, a chest of drawers, and 
one or two chairs. And when Davenport arrived, he took 
half of the bed and otherwise went to live there with his old 

A year after this Samuel Middleton, the superintendent of 
the works, who long had been a victim of anxiety and over- 
work, died of typhoid following malaria. And then Davenport 
came down with malaria. When at length he managed to re- 
cover, his doctor vetoed any return by him to the housekeep- 
ing in the laboratory. So he and Brinley rented a regular 
house in Indian Queen Lane, Germantown, from a widow who 
agreed to act as their housekeeper. And living so near this 
house that he became a regular visitor was that forceful young 
man, Guilliaem Aertsen. Upon the death of Middleton, Brin- 
ley was promoted to be superintendent, Davenport was put 
in charge of the steel making, and soon Aertsen was drawn 
into the works, eventually to become Brinley's assistant. 
Though he kept in close touch with his lieutenants, William 
Sellers came to Midvale but seldom. 

To this day the path of the scientific expert is not easy. As 
H. L. Gantt was wont to say, " the usual way of doing a thing 
is always the wrong way," and to the scientific expert falls the 
task of breaking this news which no one hears with joy and 
gladness. It was, indeed, a certainty that the steel-making 
methods introduced by Brinley and Davenport in those early 
Midvale days would be violently objected to by all the " prac- 


tical " men there employed. Some quit cold, saying they had 
lived too long to be taught by boys, and those that remained 
did so with grim predictions as to results. But the results were 
all right. An idea of the difficulties that had to be overcome 
may be gained from this quotation from a speech made at the 
works in 1888 by Davenport : 

It was no easy task; the reputation of the works for producing 
good material was absolutely gone. Something like 3,000 tons of 
steel of various kinds, and in various conditions of manufacture, were 
piled about the yard, regarding which little or nothing was known. 
The only stock-record book in existence was in the brain of old Mike 
Kelly, and to him Mr. Brinley would go for information, such as it 
was. The question of assorting this mass of material and determining 
its usefulness had to be solved by the laboratory, and it was to help 
in this work that I came to the works. By careful selection, and 
mixing with high-grade pig iron purchased for the purpose, all this 
old stuff was successfully worked into rail blooms for which we got 
over $100 a ton. This contract for rail blooms was with the Reading 
Railroad, and had been nearly canceled because the former manage- 
ment of the works had tried to use old ingot moulds in making the 
steel, and thereby put in so much phosphorus as to cause the rails to 
break in unloading.^ 

While this work was being done, tool steel was made by the 
crucible process and profitably marketed. But Midvale's first 
great triumph came when, despite the dismal failure made 
under the Butcher administration, it was decided to undertake 
again, the manufacture of locomotive tires. The new tires 
were made of open-hearth steel, and it said they were the first 
tires successfully to be so made in this country, and possibly 
anywhere. The manufacture of steel axles for the Pennsyl- 
vania Railway then was taken up, and these, so we are told, 
were the first to stand the physical or drop test. 

^ Quoted in a sketch of Davenport prepared upon the occasion of his 
death in 1904 by his friend, Charles A. Brinley. 


But early Midvale's greatest triumph came on March i8, 
1875, when it received an order for gun forgings from the 
Navy Department's Bureau of Ordnance j this being the first 
time in the history of the United States Government that such 
an order had been given to an American manufacturer. The 
forgings were for little howitzers to be used at coast-guard 
stations for throwing lines to ships in distress. It was from 
this small beginning that Midvale's big government business 
grew. In 1881, when the Navy's Ordnance Bureau invited 
fifteen American steel manufacturers to submit proposals for 
forgings for six-inch all-steel guns, Midvale was the only plant 
that could undertake the workj for it alone had developed a 
complete system of experimentation and of records. 

To Brinley must be awarded the main credit, not only for 
these triumphs in the technic of steel making, but also for the 
organization of the working force. By 1882, when he left 
Midvale, and was succeeded as superintendent by Davenport, 
he had put practically every operation in the works, down to 
the handling of coal, upon a piece-work basis. 

When he first came to Midvale in 1872, less than a hundred 
men were employed there. When he resigned ten years later, 
more than 600 were employed. In 1878 probably about 
400 were employed and the works then consisted of five 
or six dilapidated buildings — a small open-hearth furnace, 
a hammer or forge shop, a machine shop, a small rolling-mill, 
a blacksmith shop, and a carpenter and pattern shop. Most 
persons would have found the place pretty dismal. The build- 
ings generally were so dark that they continuously called for 
artificial lighting, and this was furnished by kerosene torches 
that filled the place with a foul odor and shone with a lurid 
glare amid the smoke they created. 

Dismal or not, such was the scene upon which Taylor ap- 
peared in his twentv-second year. Foul the atmosphere may 
have been in the tangible sense j nevertheless, he there found 


ready created for him in the intangible sense a highly scien- 
tific atmosphere, and to this, as he went on at Midvale, he owed 
much. On the other hand, nothing so vividly bespeaks the 
swiftness of his progress on the road of science than that he was 
destined soon to put even far-advanced Midvale in a position to 
take a bewildering amount of his dust. 


HERE is his own description of his beginning: 

I came then [in 1878] as a laborer because I could not get work 
at my trade. Work at that time was very dull — it was toward 
the end of the long period of depression following the panic of 1873. 
I was assigned to work on the floor of the machine shop. Soon after 
I went there the clerk of the shop got mixed up in his accounts and they 
thought he was stealing — I never could quite believe that he was; 
I thought it was merely a mix up — and they put me in to take his 
place, simply because I was able to do clerical work. 

I did this clerical work all right, although it was distasteful to 
me, and after having trained another clerk in to do the work of the 
shop I asked permission of the foreman to work as a machinist. They 
gave me a job on the lathe because I had made good as a clerk when 
they needed one, and I worked for some time with the lathe gang. 

Shortly after this they wanted a gang boss to take charge of the 
lathes and they appointed me to this position.^ 

His memory was that he worked as a journeyman machinist 
not more than two months. Certainly his promotion continued 
to be of great rapidity — from gang boss to foreman of the 
machine shop, to master mechanic in charge of repairs and 
maintenance throughout the works, to chief draftsman, to chief 
engineer, all within six years. Evidently his later promotions 
mainly represented the taking on of additional duties, for at all 
times he remained the operative head of the machine shop. 

Entering the employ of the company with no technical edu- 
cation save that represented by his apprenticeships, he had, 
while he continued to work in the shop ten and more hours a 
day, to do the studying which qualified him for his promotions. 

^ Testimony in 1912 before Special House Committee. 


But the most remarkable part of it is this: in the twelve years 
he spent at Midvale, or in the years of his young-manhood be- 
tween the ages of twenty-two and thirty-four, he developed 
single-handed a system of shop management the like of which 
never had been known before, and despite the opposition his 
radically new ways were bound to arouse, put the thing into 
effect with such success that he brought the entire works 
around to it. And it is to be observed that in these years Mid- 
vale steadily increased in size and general importance. 

We have seen that one of the two principal owners of Mid- 
vale when Taylor went to work there was E. W. Clark, the 
banker, and that between the Taylor family and this Mr. 
Clark's family was much social intimacy. Fred Taylor and 
Mr. Clark's sons were chums. Clarence Clark married Fred 
Taylor's sister, and these two young men formed the cele- 
brated tennis team of Taylor and Clark, which in 1881 won 
the doubles championship of the United States at Newport. 
At the time Fred Taylor went to Midvale, Clarence Clark 
became an employee of this company's chemical laboratory, 
and he remained with the company until 1887, at which time 
he had become the assistant to Russell W. Davenport, the 
superintendent. The fact is that Clarence Clark and Fred 
Taylor had great dreams of eventually controlling Midvale, 
which dreams did not receive their quietus until 1886, when 
the interest of E. W. Clark in the company was bought by 
Charles J. Harrah, Sr. And in view of all this, a question 
may arise as what extent, if any, Taylor owed his success at 
Midvale to " pull." 

He himself freely admitted that in getting started in the 
world he derived some special advantages from the position 
to which he had been born. He attributed his early finishing 
of his apprenticeships to the fact that his parents' means en- 
abled him to work for little or no money. He felt that he 
could not have persisted in the fight he was destined to make 


with those Midvale mechanics to get them to increase their 
production if they could have brought social pressure to bear 
on him outside the works, and that the management might 
not have backed him up as it did in this fight if his social posi- 
tion had not supported the belief that he had the interests of 
the works more at heart than did the men. It may be conceded 
in general that if his family background had been other than 
what it was, his character and ability might not have had the 
chance they did under the Sellers-Clark regime at Midvale 
to make themselves manifest. When this is said, however, 
we have about exhausted the story of what he owed to things 
external to himself. 

That no one's social connections could count for anything 
with Charles J. Harrah, Sr., or with his son, Charles J., Jr., 
is a proposition to which all who knew them will heartily 

A product of the Kensington section of North Philadelphia 
where Cramp's shipyards are situated, the elder Mr. Harrah 
learned the trade of ship-carpentry at those yards. Later he 
went to Brazil, where he first was engaged in the shipping 
trade, and then made a large fortune developing street rail- 
ways. Upon his return to Philadelphia in 1876 he developed 
two street railway lines in this his native city, and along about 
1886 sold them out. Thus he had the ready cash with which 
to buy E. W. Clark's interest in Midvale, and at the same 
time he bought the shares of James A. Wright, which, though 
few, carried the control. It was his plan to leave William 
Sellers in his position as president j but, as the common report 
has it, the Harrahs, father and son, soon came to believe that 
Sellers was interested too much in his own machine-tool busi- 
ness and not enough in Midvale, and after a few months came 
a quarrel in consequence of which Sellers summarily was 
ousted from the management entirely. Harrah, the elder, 
then became the president, to be succeeded upon his death a 


year or two later by his son. And though Sellers continued to 
live until 1905, the Midvale Company never paid a dividend 
until he died. The Sellers estate eventually profited hand- 
somely from the Harrah management, but not Mr. Sellers 

Now, it was in 1 884 that Taylor was more or less informally 
appointed to the position of chief engineer by Davenport, 
then the superintendent. However, it was not until 1887, or 
a year after the Harrah reign began, that he was formally 
elected to this position by the directors. The Harrahs 
were great jokers, especially Charles, Jr., and they in business 
might treat themselves to such a good joke as, apparently, they 
enjoyed at the expense of Mr. Sellers j but as for holding 
and confirming a man in his job for any reason other than that 
he filled the job — mention it not in Gath. 

When you feel you have within you power pluSy what 
more natural than to let some of the plus bubble out of you in 
prank and quip and merry jest? Consider how Napoleon 
used to pull people's ears! We must believe that the younger 
Mr. Harrah was a man of power, too. When, as head of the 
business, he would sit down to luncheon with his department 

^ While the Harrah course in withholding dividends for more than twenty 
years may have been largely due to the quarrel with Sellers, the Harrahs were 
by nature remarkably conservative. As soon as Charles J., Sr., took control, 
he paid up all the company's outstanding indebtedness, and it was the policy 
of both the Harrahs to cultivate the plant intensively by turning back earn- 
ings into equipment. The result was that the comparatively small Midvale 
Company came to occupy an impregnable position in the trade such as enabled 
its principal owner to laugh at the efforts of the United States Steel Corpora- 
tion to bring Midvale into that billion-dollar combination. In 1915, however, 
financial interests led by William E. Corey made the younger Harrah an offer 
that he evidently found irresistible; it is said that for the stock that cost his 
father about $415,000 he received about $9,000,000. After its purchase by 
the Corey interests, the old Midvale Company became one of several subsidiary 
concerns controlled by the corporation named the Midvale Steel and Ordnance 
Company. This latter corporation, or holding company, was organized in 
the fall of 191 5, one year after the World War started, principally to supply 
munitions to Great Britain, France, and Italy, and it and the Bethlehem Steel 
Company continued to represent during the war the two leading munition 
industries of the United States. 


chiefs, it was his pleasure to " kid " them one and all. And 
what Taylor got kidded about was those very same family and 
social connections of hisj industrial Kensington thereby paying 
its respects to staid Germantown. There, too, is the fact that 
Taylor had undisguised admiration for the engineering and 
other ability of William Sellers. True, he was far from ap- 
proving all of that gentleman's business methods j but he never 
forgot what he owed to Sellers for teaching him things and en- 
abling him to get started at Midvale, and he would loyally de- 
fend him whenever Sellers was attacked. So right along he 
got it from Harrah about his " Uncle William." 

It is reported that when Harrah, several years after Taylor 
left Midvale, happened to meet him in the lobby of a Phil- 
adelphia hotel, the following incident occurred: 

" Hello, Taylor, what are you doing now? " 

Taylor replied that he was systemizing the Cramp ship- 
yards, and then politely inquired as to how things were going 
with his former chief. 

" Oh," said Mr. Harrah, " I am doing fine. I am making a 
lot of money. And do you know what I am going to do when 
I have made a few more millions? I am going to build the 
finest insane asylum this world has ever known, and you, 
Taylor, are going to have there an entire floor." 

He was indeed a man of infinite jest, of most excellent 
fancy. But at that there doubtless was some earnest in it. 
We understand that for many a year Mr. Harrah continued to 
speak with something like awe of Fred Taylor's readiness to 
spend his employer's money, and probably he found Taylor's 
actions in many particulars hard to account for on any rational 
basis. And yet — well, Harrah let him go ahead and spend the 
money} he kept him in his position of chief engineer until he, 
Taylor, was himself ready to leave itj and we shall see that 
when, later on, wildly-false rumors were circulated about 
Taylor's work at Midvale, Harrah over his signature paid 


Fred Taylor about as handsome a tribute as is possible for the 
owner of a business to pay an employee. 

What was true of the Harrah attitude toward Taylor largely 
was true of the attitude of all the other Midvale executives. 
And this from the beginning. The fact is that, whether you 
were impressed by his family connections or not, the time 
soon came when you had to consider Fred Taylor for himself 
alone. His was the kind of a personality that keeps you so 
busy thinking about it that you scarcely have time to think 
about any of its related personalities. 

His first chief boss at Midvale was Brinley. When Brinley 
retired in 1882, Taylor, while remaining subordinate to Daven- 
port, the new superintendent, soon came to deal directly, to a 
large extent, with Sellers, the president. And it can be said 
of all three of these men that, no more than the Harrahs, 
were they likely to be considerate of anyone because of his con- 
nections, even when they had not such a personality to deal 
with as that of young Taylor. Those were rugged days. The 
motive to which management then mainly appealed was fear. 
And Brinley and Davenport, to say nothing of Sellers, both 
were first-class exponents of the prevailing school. 

Brinley was harsh with you in nice proportion to his liking 
for you. That was his way of not playing favorites. He was 
a bit of a martinet. Once when he had fired the foreman of 
the hammer shop for drunkenness, Guilliaem Aertsen, the as- 
sistant superintendent, protested that the man was so valuable 
that he, Aertsen, could not get along without him. 

"Ha! " said Brinley 3 "have you got any more men too 
valuable to lose? Give me their names, and I'll get rid of 
them also. We aren't going to have any men around here we 
can't afford to do without." 

Davenport fully believed in the fine old management prin- 
ciple that to spare the damn is to spoil the man j and as for Wil- 
liam Sellers, there was not only one of the greatest engineers 


of his age, but also one of its grandest disciplinarians. It is 
said that about the only way you could tell you were making 
good with Sellers was " when he wasn't ripping you up the 
back or firing you." 

As soon as Taylor came to Midvale it was realized through- 
out the works that something so unusual had happened that 
there did not seem to be any precedents by which to judge it. 
With his spare-ribbed form, frequently sweet smile, and mild 
blue eye, he appeared quite harmless. Obviously he had 
gentle instincts. He did no boasting. Yet for one of his years 
he seemed altogether too self-confident, too cocky. He was a 
little too interested in everything, and seemed to be lacking in 
a decent regard for the way his elders did things. A breeze 
had come into the works, a new force. About it one thing 
was clear, and that was that, while it evidently was inspired 
by good intentions, it would need a lot of taming. 

But the taming never could be made thorough. That force 
always was breaking loose in some new spot. It frequently 
was carried to lengths that seemed absurd. So it became the 
fashion to laugh at the young man who represented that force, 
to dismiss many of his actions as those of a crank. His speech 
truly was extraordinary. His words often came from him so 
fast that they tumbled all over one another. Sometimes his 
speech rose to a violence that seemed to classify him as super- 
normal, if not abnormal. We think he is crazy, we believe he 
is crazy; but — well, perhaps we would better give him a 
chance to prove itj that, apparently, was the way they all felt 
about him again and again. 

Of course, we must not here take the word crazy too seri- 
ously. Men in steel mills have a boyish habit of passing swift 
and summary judgments on persons and events. John is all 
right — or he is a damn fool. Jim is pretty smart — or he 
is crazy. The language of the mill has no refinements. You 
may, in a mill, call a man crazy and simply mean that, in cer- 


tain particulars, he has a way of acting with which you have 
no sympathy or which you do not understand. We have met 
more than one acquaintance of Fred Taylor's who did not love 
him, but none, we believe, who did not respect him, taking 
him all in all. Many of the present-day executives at Mid- 
vale were there in Taylor's time, and they will tell you that, 
whatever else he was, he was a good " he " man and an alto- 
gether honest man. 

Yet still there comes — the slightly derisive smile. They 
still speak of Fred Taylor's " monkey mind " — the mind, you 
know, that is curious about everything and looks into every- 
thing.^ A great deal in their attitude doubtless represents 
their reaction to all that has been printed about Taylor in con- 
nection with Midvale. They want you to understand that 
when he was there he wasn't the whole works. And that is 
only human. But the truth is that there was no one at Mid- 
vale, whether or not he still is connected with that company, 
who had any notion you could call adequate of what Taylor 
there was working out. 

The nearest to come to it were Davenport and Sellers. 
Davenport left Midvale in 1888 to go to the Bethlehem Steel 
Company, and ten years later played some part in bringing 
Taylor to Bethlehem. Undoubtedly Davenport came to have 
a lively appreciation of various features of Taylor's manage- 
ment mechanism, but it is safe to say that when he died in 1904 
he understood but little of the philosophy underlying this 
mechanism. No one came to appreciate Taylor's revolutionary 

^ How apposite, in a sense, was this remark about Taylor's " monkey 
mind," the men who used it little realized. Says James Harvey Robinson in 
T/te Mind in the Making: "All the higher animals exhibit curiosity under cer- 
tain circumstances, and it is this impulse which underlies all human science. 
Moreover, some of the higher animals, especially the apes and monkeys, are 
much given to fumbling and groping. They are restless, easily bored, and 
spontaneously experimental. . . . The innate curiosity which man shares with 
his uncivilized zoological relatives is the native impulse that leads to scientific 
and philosophical speculation, and the original fumbling of a restless ape has 
become the ordered experimental investigation of modern times," 


work in the metal-cutting field better than William Sellers. 
It was in the shops of William Sellers & Company that, in 
1 901 and 1902, these experiments were finished. It is doubt- 
ful, however, if Mr. Sellers ever understood all that was in- 
volved in Taylor's time study. He could see in 1901 that, to 
take full advantage of Taylor's metal-cutting discoveries, the 
management of his shops would have to be reorganized, and 
he came to have full faith that the Taylor System ultimately 
would prevail generally. At the same time he never attempted 
to grip the details of this system. 

Carl Barth, who began his employment in Sellers' drafting- 
room in 1 88 1, tells us that in those days Fred Taylor was 
laughed at a good deal over at the Sellers plant also. Taylor 
frequently visited the Sellers drafting room to watch the prog- 
ress of designs being worked up for Midvale, and whenever 
he appeared there nearly everyone " took on a smile." This 
because of his " assertive ways of criticizing and making sug- 
gestions." However, a cynic among the young men in that 
drafting room one day remarked to Barth: "Well, they can 
laugh at Fred Taylor all they please, but what I notice is that 
in the end his ideas are acted on." 

There indeed it was: By one of the chief men concerned 
with that company in its early days he was called a crank so 
often that rage at length drove him to protest in language 
which one does not ordinarily address to one's senior. He had 
continually to combat the suspicion that he was not quite 
normal. It was his role to provide innocent merriment for 
practically all of the men in the management. Yet he not 
only was steadily promoted, not only was steadily paid a larger 
and larger salary, but also was permitted to spend big sums 
of his employer's money in original experiments. Just how 
he contrived to bring this about should have a great deal of 
interest, and what we can be sure of in advance is that at the 
bottom of it all was his scientific realism. 



EVEN when he was scarcely in his twenties, he was too 
shrewd to let his bold spirit of inquiry run away with 
him. Still, there were certain lessons he had to learn, 
and as he found these lessons somewhat difficult, they had to 
be pretty harsh with him. 

Apparently he did not learn much from his first chief boss, 
Brinley. To begin with, Brinley remained at Midvale only 
four years after Taylor came there, and it was not until the 
latter part of this period that Taylor really began to get going. 
Apparently he spent these years mainly in observation and in 
study. The feeling that he was questioning everything may 
have been annoying to his elders and superiors, but for the 
time being he did not cut loose in any radical way, except only 
as his action in setting out to force his men to increase their pro- 
duction as soon as he became gang boss might be called radical. 

" In the early days of the steel industry," he said in his 
latter years, " there was a very good opportunity for making 
inventions." All his Yankee ingenuity and his zeal impelled 
him to take full advantage of this opportunity. 

Now, it may be that, despite his scientific bent and his in- 
stinctive appreciation of the value of " book learning," he ab- 
sorbed some of the prejudice against college folk that was 
general in American industry in his Midvale days. It is certain 
that though he came to have many highly-esteemed friends 
and supporters among the professorate here and abroad, he 
was not a stranger to that subtile antipathy felt by the " prac- 
tical man " for the " academic." On the other hand, he 



frequently was confronted by the fact that, at least in this 
country, such antipathy is likely to be mutual. 

A very serious objection [he testified in 191 2] has been made to 
the use of the word science in this connection [that of management]. 
I am much amused to find that this objection comes chiefly from 
the professors of this country. They resent the use of the word sci- 
ence for anything quite so trivial as the ordinary, every-day affairs 
of life.^ 

Even as broad a scholar as Le Chatelier, professor of chem- 
istry in the Sorbonne, confessed to feeling a trifle of pique 
when made to realize that the experiments conducted by Taylor 
amid the every-day work of the shop were more thoroughly 
scientific than those usually performed in college laboratories. 
" I was somewhat ashamed to find the science of a practical 
man infinitely more developed than my own," he wrote to 

However much in his latter years Taylor may have enjoyed 
taking little drives at professors as a class, this did not stop 
him from attempting to get at the exact facts regarding the 
value of a college education 5 and it was his mature judgment 
that for success in life character (that is, " ability to con- 
trol yourself body and mind " and above all to face the dis- 
agreeable) comes first, common sense second, and the intel- 
lectual training such as one receives at college, third. As be- 
tween knowledge of the history and theory of an art and prac- 
tical experience in it, he estimated that the former counted for 
twenty-five per cent and the latter for seventy-five. But 

^ Nine years after Taylor made this statement before the Special House 
Committee, the New York Evening Post published a letter from one of its 
readers which read in part : " A university professor has recently written a 
very just lamentation over American neglect of the culture of science compared 
with its cultivation in Germany. . . . Most of the blame belongs to our college 
and university professors and especially to those in scientific fields. They 
have long had a superb opportunity to go to the common people and explain 
the incomparable value of science, but they neglected the duty and disdained 
the mob." 


though knowledge o£ the history and theory was much the 
smaller element, it sufficed to tip the scales heavily in favor of 
its possessor. 

This latter fact, apparently, was borne in upon him soon 
after he went to Midvale. Perhaps he was helped to realize 
it by the examples of Brinley and Davenport. The remark- 
able thing about it, however, was the way he set out to get a 
" scientific education " while carrying on his regular work. 

Throughout my early days at Midvale [he said in his autobiographic 
letter of 1910] I found myself very much short of a scientific edu- 
cation, and began by taking a home study course in mathematics and 
physics, w^hich was given by the scientific professors at Harvard Uni- 
versit}^ After getting all that I could by correspondence in this way, 
I then went to the professors at Stevens Institute [at Hoboken, New 
Jersey], and asked them for proper textbooks, etc., and this started 
my home study course at Stevens. 

About two years and a half after this time, namely, in June, 1 883, 
I graduated as M. E. from Stevens, without, hov^ever, having been 
there except for the purpose of passing all the entrance examinations 
and finally one after another of the examinations required through- 
out the course. 

You will realize that my time was greatly shortened in getting 
through Stevens by the fact that I was able to pass in languages — 
French and German — and in history, etc., right oflt at the start, 
owing to my experience abroad and to general reading, etc. So that 
this left me much less actual work to do than the other boys, and en- 
abled me to get through in two years and a half, while I was at the 
same time carrying on my duties at Midvale. 

It was, among other things, as a " hard-working man " that 
he came to be commended by the younger Mr. Harrah, and he 
was not without deserving it. As a part of the day force at 
Midvale, he worked from 6:30 o'clock to 5:10. Often he 
volunteered to work on Sundays as well as overtime on week 
days. And after he had been at Midvale two years he began 


studying about three hours every night and on Sundays, and 
kept this up for two and a half years. His parents' means 
readily would have permitted him to withdraw from the shop 
while he got his scientific education j but, having of his own 
volition embarked on his " pilgrimage " into industry, he could 
not even momentarily turn aside from itj the more it called 
for discipline and renunciation, the more of joy he doubtless 
drew from it, even as the strong rejoice to forsake the fireside 
and breast the winds of winter. 

His one best way of getting in his three hours of home study 
apparently became the subject of some experimenting. At 
one time he had an idea he could do his best studying in the 
wee, small hours. He would set his alarm-clock for 2 a. m., 
at which hour he would rise, bathe, dress himself in his working 
clothes, and study until 5. Then he would lie down for half- 
an-hour's sleep, just to brighten himself up for the day's work. 
At 5 :30 he would eat his breakfast and hurry to the Reading 
Railway station near his Ross Street home, to catch the 6 o'clock 
train that took him the two miles to the works. During most 
of his home-study period, however, his study hours appear 
to have been from about 9 o'clock until midnight, at which 
mystic hour he would seek to compose himself for sleep by 
going out for half-an-hour's run. His friend, Wilfred Lewis, 
tells us that at first this unusual nocturnal activity in the streets 
of staid old Germantown aroused the grave suspicions of the 
police, but at length every man on the force got to know that 
the slender figure there streaking it along was " only Fred 
Taylor." The neighbors became accustomed to it also. When 
they would hear a door slam at midnight they would say: 
"Well, there goes Fred Taylor out for his constitutional." 
Sometimes he would be seen stopping under a street-lamp to 
consult a paper or a blank-book j apparently even he who runs 
may study. 

" During these strenuous times," says Mr. Lewis, " I doubt 


if Taylor ever had more than four or five hours sleep out of the 
twenty-four, but no doubt his sleep was just as intense and 
effective as everything else he did." On the face of it, it 
would indeed seem as if his sleep during this period must have 
largely made up in quality what it lacked in quantity. His 
insomnia, we know, was mostly a later development j but 
whether or not he was comparatively free from his troubled 
dreams during the years of his home study, he came to feel 
in his latter years that he had overtaxed himself and was posi- 
tively opposed to a young man's following any such sleeping 
regime as he did. 

However much he might overdo in any particular, it appar- 
ently was to be explained, not by any failure in power of self- 
restraint, but by an error of judgment. While it is conceiv- 
able, for example, that his influence might have been even 
greater than it was if, on occasions, he had not let himself 
out so freely in his speech, we have heard of case after case 
where, going at top speed, so to speak, he suddenly recognized 
the need of shutting down on himself and did so as with the 
crack of a whip. He had the will dynamic and static, and also 
the will inhibitory, which in the economy of mental force cor- 
responds to the part played by the governor in the economy 
of the steam-engine. The greater the force, the greater of 
course must be the power of inhibiting or governing itj and 
when we consider the force that breathed through Taylor, 
his power of inhibition looms up as remarkable. 

Undoubtedly, during his early years at Midvale, he kept 
himself pretty firmly held in. But that was not the only 
reason why he did not receive much education from Brinley. 
Apparently Brinley did not love this young man enough to 
be really harsh with him. As a matter of fact, Brinley did not 
come very much in personal contact with any of his men apart 
from his chief lieutenants. On the other hand, young Taylor 
took a dislike to Brinley, and the reason for it is both 


humorous and significant: A gentleman and a scholar, Brinley 
apparently was more concerned with his scientific work and 
his problems of management in the abstract than with his 
men, and we can well believe that his problems in putting the 
works on a paying basis were many and serious. Neverthe- 
less, it impressed young Taylor that Brinley's aloofness from 
the rank and file, as well as the little weakness he evidently 
had for dress, was bad business for a manager. Years after- 
ward, when lecturing at Harvard, Taylor spoke of the fact 
that it is " necessary for the employer who wants the kindly 
regard and the respect of his workmen not only not to be a 
snob, but to carefully avoid the slightest semblance of snob- 
bery," and he went on to say: 

Shortly after serving my apprenticeship, I worked in a shop under 
the superintendence of a college graduate. His natural carriage led 
him to hold his head rather high in the air, and he had an imperturb- 
able face. Every day he would walk through the shop, hardly say- 
ing anything to any of the vs^orkmen. In addition to this, he had the 
habit of using a silk handkerchief with perfume on it. This was 
not only disliked, but cordially hated by all the men. They could 
stand the silk handerchief with perfume, but the corner of the hand- 
kerchief w^hich he always left sticking out of the breast pocket of 
his coat was too much for them, and I must say that I personally 
cordially shared in their feeling. In later years I discovered that he 
was a very kindly man. 

It was Davenport who first was really harsh with young 
Taylor, and Taylor always referred to Davenport as his 
friend. Something of how harsh Davenport was with him, 
Taylor told in his " Success " lecture. Here he laid great 
stress on the point that " practically every man engaged in 
active, useful work, is engaged in serving someone else, and 
this is equally true of the president of the company and the 
office boy." It is the duty of every man, Taylor said, to serve 
his immediate superior. Thus: 


Every day, year in and year out, each man should ask himself, over 
and over again, two questions. First, " What is the name of the man 
I am now working for? " and having answered this definitely, then: 
" What does this man want me to do, right now? " Not, " What 
ought I to do in the interests of the company that I am working for? " 
Not, "What are the duties of the position that I am filling? " 
Not, " What did I agree to do when I came here? " Not, " What 
should I do for my own best interests? " but, plainly and simply, 
" What does this man want me to do? " 

While this seems exceedingly simple, " most men, if they 
ever learn it, learn it by having it pounded into them." 

Let me tell you how it was pounded into me. I was foreman of 
a machine shop more than half of the work in which was that of re- 
pairing and maintaining the machinery in a large steel works. Of 
course my chief interest and hope in life was that of doing some 
great thing for the benefit of the works that I was in. My head was 
full of wonderful and great projects to simplify the processes, to 
design new machines, to revolutionize the methods of the whole estab- 
lishment. It is needless to say that 99 out of 100 of these projects 
were impracticable, and that very few of them ever came to anything, 
but I was devoting every minute of my spare time, at home and on 
Sunday, and entirely too much of my time in the works, to develop- 
ing these wonderful and great projects. 

Now the superintendent of the works, who had been a warm friend 
of mine for years [Davenport], wanted me to keep all of the machines 
going with the minimum loss of time, and kept telling me this over 
and over again. I, however, knew much better than he what was for 
the interest of the works. I did not daily ask myself, " What does 
this man want me to do? " but I daily told myself just what I ought 
to be doing. He stood this as long as he could (which was a great 
deal longer than he ought to have stood it) and finally came into 
my oflfice one day and swore at me like a pirate. This had never 
happened before, and I of course at once made up my mind that I 
should get right out; wouldn't stand any such treatment. I, how- 
ever, remembered my early advice [that of his uncle], and waited 


forty-eight hours before doing anything. By that time I had very 
greatly cooled off, but for two or three weeks at regular intervals my 
friend, the superintendent, repeated this process of damning me up and 
down hill, until he finally beat it into my dumb head that I was there 
to serve him, and not to work in the interests of the company according 
to my own ideas, when these conflicted with his. 

Further on in this lecture, to illustrate the point that what 
one's employer wants is results, not reasons, Taylor said: 

A workman came up to my house in the middle of the night to tell 
me that a valve had broken and shut down one of the large depart- 
ments in the works. I took the earliest train at 6 o'clock down into 
Philadelphia, hired a carriage and drove all over the city to every 
dealer who might possibly have the valve on hand, and also to all the 
establishments that were users of this kind of valve. I failed, how- 
ever, to find it in Philadelphia. About noon I returned to the works, 
feeling very well satisfied that I had left no stone unturned in my 
hunt for the valve. I started to explain to the superintendent just 
how thoroughly I had done my work, when he turned on me. 

" Do you mean to say that you haven't got that valve? " 

" Yes, sir." 

" Damn you, get out of this and get that valve." 

So I went to New York and got the valve. 

We have heard of still another case in which Taylor was 
damned up and down hill by his friend Davenport. Midvale 
received from the Government a rush order for certain arti- 
cles to be turned out in the machine shop. Having told Tay- 
lor of the need of hurry, Davenport arrived at the works one 
morning expecting to find the job completed, or the whole 
gang at work on it at the very least. What he did find on the 
job was one " hollow-eyed " mechanic, who had been working 
all night while a clerk took notes of his motions. It was quite 
true, as Davenport freely admitted, that those time-studies 
might be of great use later on (and they were), but — well, it 
is said that as the fur then and there flew, Taylor learned a 


good lesson in the value of common sense j which he himself 
came to define as " the ability to decide as to the relative im- 
portance of things — the ability to select from among the 
several possible lines of action which lie before you, the one 
act which is best, the one act which will yield the largest 

Where Davenport left oflF being harsh with young Taylor, 
William Sellers apparently began.. Again we quote: 

WiHiam Sellers ranked undoubtedly in his time as the most noted 
engineer in this country. It was my good fortune to work under 
him for several years. During this time I was badly treated by one 
of the superintendents who was over me. I stood it for a long 
time, and then decided to go to Mr. Sellers about it. He listened 
and agreed with what I told him, and then turned to me, almost 
laughing, and said: 

" Do you know that all this impresses me with the fact that you still 
are a very young man? Long before you reach my age you will have 
found that you have to eat a bushel of dirt, and you will go right 
ahead and eat your dirt until it really seriously interferes with your 

That Sellers was a really great man is in no way better 
shown than by the fact that he commanded the respect, the 
admiration and the affection of his subordinates and intimates, 
even while it was generally recognized that in him Quaker 
thrift was manifested so excessively as to make him often in- 
sensible to the just claims of others. He was a powerfully- 
built man, with a big, booming voice that he could make as 
harsh as a calliope. He seemed to grow more handsome with 
the years, especially as his hair, brows, gracefully-curved 
mustache, and trim imperial beard became snow-white. His 
self-confidence was grand. Once during Sellers' reign at 
Midvale, Aertsen temporarily left the employ of that company 
to go with a western house manufacturing machine-tools. 
While still with this western house, Aertsen, back in Philadel- 


phia for a day, dropped in for a brief visit at the office of 
William Sellers & Company. 

" Now, how is this, Mr. Aertsen," said Mr. Sellers, grimly, 
" that you have set up in opposition to us? " 

" Oh," said Aertsen, " I am sure, Mr. Sellers, there is 
room in the world for us both." 

" Well," Mr. Sellers boomed forth, as he attached his 
signature to a letter, " I always have noticed that there is 
plenty of room in this world for me." 

One of the secrets of Sellers* power is to be read in the 
fact that never did he leave you in any doubt as to what he 
did or did not want. Though, as a former employee of his 
tells us, he could " growl like a lion, kick like a steer, and bawl 
like a bull," it always was for specific reasons that he did not 
fail to make understandable j so that while the noise might 
be terrifying, it was not confusing. A thing for which he was 
particularly admired by his employees was that, despite the 
sternness of his character, the tenacity of his purpose, and the 
grandeur of his belief in himself, he always was accessible to 
criticism, attentive to argument, and open to conviction. If 
the apprentice boy could prove he was wrong, Mr. Sellers 
would freely acknowledge it. Always he was big and brave 
enough to eat crowj in it he found lots of nourishment, and 
he was a man who never lost sight of the main issue. By him 
Taylor was influenced in more ways than one. 

Early in his direct dealings with Sellers occurred an in- 
cident that Taylor became very fond of relating. Mr. Sellers 
gave him some drawings representing ideas that he wished 
worked up. In a day or two young Taylor, very much pleased 
with himself, returned with an entirely new set of drawings 
of his own preparation. 

" What are these? " asked Mr. Sellers as he started to look 
them over. 

Blithely and enthusiastically, Taylor informed his chief that 


he had become convinced that his (Sellers') ideas were im- 
practicable, and so he had worked up some of his own. 

It was a chilly day in early spring, and a fire was burning in 
the grate. The distance from Sellers' desk to the fire was not 
so vast that a person sitting at the desk could not, with a little 
effort, cast things into the fire. And that is where Taylor's 
drawings went forthwith. 

" The next time," said his chief, " perhaps you won't aban- 
don any of my ideas as impracticable until you bring me 
the finished drawings and show me just where they are im- 

It was a stinging experience to have to say " Yes, sir " to 
that, and then fold your tents like the Arabs and silently steal 
away. But that is the principal way we all learn things j and 
the lesson Taylor drew from this experience was that the 
proper time for a subordinate to offer suggestions is after 
he has done what he is told to do, not before. It was a lesson, 
you might say, that was burned into his consciousness, and he 
in turn became one of its most powerful teachers. 

His principle of course was that every organization must 
have a directing head, some one who embodies the organiza- 
tion's common will or purpose in orders to all the parts. And 
the success of the organization naturally depends on the readi- 
ness of the parts to obey these orders. Should they be in the 
habit of starting a debate whenever an order reaches them, 
the organization of course will not get anywhere. 

But here, now, is a subordinate who receives an order 
the carrying out of which he is sure will work injury. Shall 
he obey the order unquestioningly? From his " Success " 
lecture we know how young Taylor dealt with a situation like 
that. Whenever he related an incident in which he played 
the part of the " goat," he acknowledged that he was it. On 
the other hand, when he related an incident in which he ap- 
peared to advantage, he always referred to himself as some 


one else. Thus he told of how " a young man " had pleased 
the president of the company which employed him by showing 
he could do disagreeable things, and then went on to say: 

A few weeks afterward the president [Sellers, of course] sent for 
him to come to his office, and said: 

" I have tried to get the oil out of the cylinders of our steam ham- 
mers. I know that you are not in the hammer department. Are 
you able to keep the oil out of these cylinders? " 

" Yes, sir, providing you will give the necessary authority to do it." 

The president wrote him a letter, stating that he had authority to 
discharge anyone who disobeyed the orders of this young man in the 
matter of keeping oil out of the cylinders, and armed with this letter 
he returned to the works, and appointed a hammer-man on day shift 
and one on night shift, for each hammer, part of whose duty it was 
to see that no oil got into the cylinder of his hammer. He showed 
him the president's letter and told him that if any oil was found 
in the cylinder of a steam hammer on his shift he would discharge 
him, whether he put it there, allowed it to get there, or not. In 
addition to this, he chained up the various inlets to the cylinder and 
locked them with heavy padlocks, so as to make it difficult to get at 
the cylinders to oil them. 

Before starting to do this, however, he wrote a letter to the presi- 
dent of the company, telling him he believed it was a mistaken policy 
to keep the oil out of the cylinders; that it was his personal conviction 
that the cylinders would cut without oil and be ruined. The presi- 
dent answered that he had a steam engine in one of his other establish- 
ments running for some twenty years without any oil in the cylinder, 
and that he would therefore take the personal responsibility of the 
matter himself. 

About three or four months later the company paid a bill of many 
thousands of dollars to have the cylinders of its steam hammers re- 
bored. They had almost all cut for lack of oil. 

To general rules there nearly always are exceptions, and to 
be a first-class subordinate one must have the intelligence to 
recognize the exceptional. It will be seen, however, that 


while this " young man " was led to question the order he re- 
ceived, his spirit of subordination remained intact. As Taylor 
added, the young man showed " he could obey orders even if 
he personally disagreed with the policy." 

It would appear also that while at Midvale he learned to 
discriminate sharply between two kinds of orders. 


THIS is how he expressed it: 

There are two ways of giving orders, and in all cases the young 
man must use his common-sense and a small amount of brains to de- 
cide in which of these two ways the order has been given. The first of 
these ways is, " Take that chair in your left hand. Carry it over into 
the corner and lean it against the wall." The second of these ways 
is, " That chair wants to be put away. Go and do it." Now, when 
a man tells you precisely and exactly and minutely what he wants 
you to do, it is because he wants you to do just that, and nothing else. 
When, however, as is the case in perhaps nine times out of ten, a man 
gives the second type of order, then he expects you not only to do 
what he says, but perhaps do a little better than he says, and in giv- 
ing the man you are serving a little more than he expects, lies more 
than in anything else the key to rapid success. 

And Taylor went on to say: 

Throughout life it is the small, unexpected, unasked-for acts of 
courtesy and kindness that give especial pleasure. It is the little gift, 
the small piece of uncalled-for generosity, that charms, makes life 
worth living — and remember, your employer is no exception to the 
rest of mankind in his appreciation of this. 

Quite a large proportion of young men set out deliberately to do 
barely enough to satisfy their employer — in fact, many of them 
would feel happy to do as little as they can and still satisfy their em- 
ployer. Another set of men propose to do just what their employer 
wants. They, however, are at all times exceedingly careful to guard 
their own rights and not to give a single thing in the way of service 
that they are not paid for. About one man, however, in twenty takes 
the real, quick road to success. He makes up his mind deliberately that 



in all cases he will not only give his employer all that he wants, but 
that he will surprise him with something unexpected, something be- 
yond what his employer has any right to ask or expect, and it is as- 
tonishing how fast this line of action leads to success. 

Here we see his philosophy of giving. Of course he was 
too shrewd to give indiscriminately and too practical to keep 
on giving if the other fellow failed to respond. 

There came a time at Midvale when he fell to wondering 
whether he was getting enough salary for what he was giving. 
It worried him. He felt that if he permitted his mind to 
dwell on what he was getting, it would be at the expense of 
what he could give, and his solution of the difficulty was to de- 
vote one hour a week, no more, to considering what his services 
were worth. By this system, so he told his friends, he doubled 
his salary in a year. 

Most emphatically he refused to keep on giving to what he 
called a hog — that is, to a person so deformed morally as to 
refuse to play life's little game of reciprocity. Once there 
came to him a man who had heard of some of his experiments 
and was seeking detailed information. Only too happy was 
Taylor to oblige. But when, after he had given his visitor 
an hour or more of his time, he asked him some questions 
about himself, the man proved entirely unresponsive. It 
was as if he said, " I am here to get information, not to give 
it." So, with startling suddenness, Taylor shut down on him. 
Here's your hat, sir — what's your hurry? 

He gave of his money. A man working on the roof of a 
building at Midvale fell off and broke so many of his bones 
that he lay crippled at home for many weeks. In those days 
there were no workmen's compensation laws, and this man had 
a dependent family. Every week regularly Taylor took from 
his own wages an amount equal to the crippled man's and, 
while contriving to give the impression that the money came 


from the company, left it at his home. But he was circum- 
spect in giving money. It often did harm, and at the best it 
was a cheap service. " The great," says Emerson, " depend 
on their heart, not on their purse," and what Taylor gave most 
freely of was himself. 

In every case, giving must be reciprocal. But let every 
man, whether employer or employee, be ready to be the first 
to start the game. The one who starts it first is in a position 
to exact giving from the other fellow. And if the other fel- 
low fails, in due season, to respond, then fire the hog, be he 
your employer or your employee. In every case be ready to 
give too much rather than too little, and in every case give the 
other fellow plenty of chance to respond. Be careful, however, 
not to weaken yourself by your giving j never give so much as 
to unfit yourself for giving more. This, as we understand it, 
was the philosophy that Taylor did his best to practice. 

If he failed in any particular, it was in that of giving of 
himself too freely. Again and again he was told, not with- 
out some justification, that he was a fool to give so much of 
himself to others. Still, on the whole, he was nobody's fool, 
and he practiced his philosophy of giving pretty successfully, 
especially at Midvale. 

We know with what jealousy the employee commonly 
guards everything pertaining to his position} the idea appear- 
ing to be that if he can leave his boss in a hole when he quits 
his position, nothing will so much prove his worth. All such 
employees Taylor regarded as dunderheads, if only for the 
reason that when an employer feels he has a man who is in- 
dispensable in a certain position, he is likely to keep him 

No man [wrote Taylor] should expect promotion until after he has 
trained his successor to take his place. The writer is quite sure that 
in his own case, as a young man, no one element was of such assist- 
ance to him in obtaining new opportunities as the practice of invari- 


ably training another man to fill his position before asking for ad- 
vancement! ^ 

As a further illustration of what he was willing to give at 
Midvale, we may quote this bit of disguised autobiography: 

In an engineering establishment [Midvale, of course] there were 
ten or fifteen young college men who were all trying to work up 
into good positions. Among them was one man of no especial ability. 
He appears to have been endowed, however, with fully the ordinary 
amount of common-sense. At any rate, he saw an opportunity for 
advancement which the other young men failed to see. 

Most of the departments of the works ran night and day, so that 
every Saturday night and Sunday urgent repairs were required to 
keep the place running. Naturally, the work of making these repairs 
was in no way sought for by these young college fellows. They all 
had something much more interesting to do on Sunday — either 
choir practice or lawn tennis or social engagements of some kind. 
So that the superintendent in charge of repairs had a hard time to 
get the men he wanted to work hard, and chiefly on Sunday. 

One of these young college men, however, went to the repair 
superintendent, and told him that he didn't mind Sunday work at 
all — in fact, he rather liked it. He said he had served his appren- 
ticeship as a machinist, and didn't mind being called upon at any 
time. This was such a new experience to the repair superintendent 
that he sent for him to come in on the following Sunday. He did 
so well that he kept him at work practically every Sunday throughout 
the year, and also quite frequently all of Saturday night, and, con- 
trary to what usually happened, he never had any kicks or complaints 
from this young man. 

All of this man's friends, however, laughed at him and remon- 
strated with him for being so foolish as to take much more than his 
share of Sunday work. This was particularly true of the rest of the 
college fellows. His parents, his social friends, also told him that 
he was nothing but a fool to work in this way. However, by the 
end of the year practically every superintendent throughout the estab- 

^ Shof Managejfient, p. 123. 


lishment wanted this young man in his department, and as a result 
he was promoted with great rapidity. 

If, at the beginning, he worked practically on every Sunday 
for a year, that was far from true of his other years at Mid- 
vale. Wilfred Lewis, in writing about the period when Tay- 
lor was studying at night, says: 

He was a good sport and very fond of tennis, at which he soon 
became an adept by utilizing his Sundays and holidays without en- 
croaching upon any of his regular duties. His play, in fact, was so 
nicely fitted in with his work that one helped the other. At the same 
time he was quite a social favorite, and did not wholly renounce the 
demands and pleasures of society while working under heavy pressure. 

His custom of playing tennis on Sunday at his Ross Street 
home at first caused something of a stir in that Germantown 
neighborhood. Soon, however, it came to be generally ac- 
cepted j and we can gain a clew as to why it was from what is 
told us by a gentleman who was one of the younger German- 
town boys to be sent for to play tennis at Ross Street when any 
of the regular players did not appear. At first his mother 
firmly opposed his playing on Sunday, but after hearing where 
he wished to play, she said : " Well, if Fred Taylor does it, 
it must be all right." 

In speaking of Taylor's work at Midvale, Carl Barth says: 
" He constantly investigated tools and other small appliances 
that gave minor trouble or fell short of giving entire satis- 
faction, and in discovering the cause of their shortcomings, 
was able to effect highly-desirable improvements. Many of 
these improvements probably could easily have been made by 
anyone else who had taken the trouble Taylor did to investi- 
gate. The basis of it lay in the fact that it was Taylor's genius 
to recognize the importance of trifles." 

This same disposition to look into little things he mani- 
fested on the tennis court. Everyone who had played this 


game had known for years that a net was likely to wear out 
first in the middle, where it was subjected to the greatest 
strain. Simple idea to double the thickness of the mesh in 
the middle, wasn't it? Apparently, however, Taylor was 
the first to conceive of it. A little more ingenious was his 
device for tightening netsj this consisted of a post at either 
end set in an iron socket that permitted the post to be turned 
and the net thus stretched taut. 

The success that he and Clarence Clark had at doubles was 
generally attributed to their superior team work. Not by any 
means must we fail to mention the spoon-shaped racket that 
Taylor devised and habitually used. All his friends delighted 
to ridicule this remarkable implement, which derived its spoon 
shape from a crook in its neck, and wherever he took it, as 
for example at the Newport tournaments, it caused unbounded 
merriment. Here again all the ridicule in the world could 
not budge him. Some of his friends think his unique racket 
was designed to overcome a defect he had in a none too flexible 
wrist. His partner, Clarence Clark, tells us that Taylor used 
this racket mainly to facilitate his making the " Lawf ord 
stroke," which, so we are informed, is a sort of overcut that 
causes the ball to strike the ground on a down-curve and shoot 
forward in a baffling way. 

Amanda Montier, who was the waitress in the Taylor house- 
hold, still remembers the lively dinner parties Fred Taylor 
would give on Sundays for his tennis friends and others when, 
in the summer, all the other members of the family were 
away. Such discussions as would take place at these parties! 
And yet, says Amanda, what fine young gentlemen they all 
were ! 

It was true of Taylor's mature years that no matter where 
he sat at the table, that place was likely to become the head. 
And we gather that this was true also of his adolescent years 
when he was with persons of his own age. " He had," writes 


Wilfred Lewis, " a keen wit, sometimes tinged with sarcasm, 
and was very quick at repartee." 

He did not work all summer either. For about twenty 
years when he was a young man he went camping every sum- 
mer either in the Adirondacks or in the lake region of Maine. 
Still, he exerted himself on these trips pretty strenuously also. 
"As we travelled almost every day," Taylor wrote in 1910, 
" we were obliged to carry very heavy loads in pack baskets on 
our backs. My load averaged over eighty pounds, and in 
some cases was as high as 125 pounds j and I many times 
carried this load more than eight miles per day over the rough 
trails in the woods." This despite the fact that he " weighed 
then only 145 pounds." 

His genial, sociable nature also shone forth when the fore- 
men and department heads would gather for luncheon at Mid- 
vale. Not only his sociable nature, but also his disputatious. 
It would appear that wherever he was in those days, there 
an argument was likely to be also. He was a positive young 
man. And another positive man at the Midvale luncheons 
was Guilliaem Aertsen. And as these two looked out upon 
life from points of view representing about all the difference 
there is between east and west, their debates were a source of 
joy to all their sport-loving associates. Neither as boy nor 
man was Taylor inclined to recognize any degrees in what he 
considered wrong. If it was wrong to drink, it was wrong to 
drink a little. If it was wrong to lie, a little lie was as bad as 
a big one. Once Aertsen asked him if he thought it was wrong 
to drink coffee. Yes, said Taylor, it wasj coffee was a narcotic 
poison. Was it as wrong, asked Aertsen, to drink coffee as it 
was to drink whiskey? Yes, said Taylor, it wasj he didn't 
drink coffee. And then the two proceeded to mix it up as to 
whether, when Aertsen took coffee for his breakfast that morn- 
ing, he was as much a criminal as a man who gets drunk and 
murders his wife. Apparently those Midvale arguments 

^HHm^H 'H^^^Hl^l 



«S''~~- - S 

mr^LM^l^A ^- \ 



covered the whole range of the cosmos. It is said that one 
of the foremen, after listening to Taylor and some of the 
others holding forth at luncheon one day, was moved to ex- 
claim: "Gee, if I wasn't a Catholic, I'd be like you fellows 
and not be anything! " 

It surely could not be said that Taylor had any morose or 
misanthropic objections to anyone's enjoying himself. His 
principle simply was that it is unwise to let your love of pleas- 
ure prevent you from taking an extensive view of your duty, 
and that it is better to make a pleasure of duty than a duty of 
pleasure. Here is some more disguised autobiography show- 
ing the extensive view he took of his duty: 

In another establishment [do not let us be deceived; it is still 
Midvale] a young man, also a college graduate, had worked up to be 
at the head of one of the departments. A drain which ran under- 
neath the mill became clogged up. He sent his best foreman and a 
gang of men to clean it out. After they had tried to do it with 
jointed rods of all kinds, they failed, and reported to him that the 
only thing to do was to dig down, break open the drain, and clean 
out the obstruction. 

Now this drain was some twenty or thirty feet below the mill, 
and ran underneath the foundation, which made it extremely difficult 
to dig, and certainly involved the loss of several days in the operation 
of the mill. This young man made up his mind that the drain 
must be cleaned; so he took off all his clothes, put on overalls, 
tied shoes on to his elbows, shoes on to his knees, and leather pads 
on to his hips to keep from getting cut in the drain, and then crawled 
in through the black slime and muck of the drain. Time and again 
he had to turn his nose up into the arch of the drain to keep from 
drowning. After about lOO yards, however, he reached the obstruc- 
tion, pulled it down, and when the water had partly subsided backed 
out the same way that he had come in. He was covered with slime 
perhaps half an inch thick, all over, which had to be scraped off with 
a scraper, and his skin was black for a week or two where the dirt 
had soaked in. He was of course very much laughed at, and finally 


the anecdote was told as a good joke at a meeting of the Board of 
Directors. The president of the company, however, realized that this 
was just the kind of a joke that his company appreciated. 

What, according to Taylor, the young man proved by this 
thing he did was " first, that he had common sense enough 
to recognize the fact that his employer wanted him above all 
things to save money, and second, that he had the grit and 
pluck required to do disagreeable things." For ourselves we 
should say he also proved that he had some physical courage. 

" It takes but little character to do difficult things if you 
like them," said Taylor. And this explains the high value 
he set on sport. It will be remembered that in referring to 
the outdoor life of Germantown, he said he believed there was 
nothing finer in the world j sport there being the leading idea, 
" with education a long way back, second." To his sons, when 
they went to school, he would say: " I don't know which is the 
more important, your studies or your athletics." Apparently 
he felt compelled to acknowledge to them that their studies 
should come first j but it would appear from his correspondence 
that he derived far more joy from hearing they had made 
good on the athletic field than from hearing of any success 
they might have in the classroom. Sport, in his view, was a 
developer of that grit and pluck needed to stand the gaff of 
the disagreeable. If a man did not have this quality, what did 
it matter how much he might know? Knowledge was not for 
one's personal satisfaction or adornment, but for use, for 
service. And how could a man properly utilize what he knew 
if he had not grit and pluck? 

This quality again was needed to enable a man to stand up 
under the hard knocks of discipline. Perhaps, in his intense 
way, he rather laid it on as to how he had been "cussed 
out " by Davenport. At the same time, there can be no doubt 
that he really was put through a severe course of sprouts by 
both Davenport and Sellers, and it should be obvious that it 


was only as he stood up under the drubbing they gave him and 
so learned the spirit of subordination that he was able to rise 
at Midvale. 

We know, however, that after he had been at Midvale only 
a few months he began to serve as a manager as well as a 
subordinate, and so let us see what success he had as a manager. 



WE believe it to be a fact that men can be broadly 
divided into two types: the engineering and the ex- 
ecutive. The engineer is the man of science, the 
executive the man of action. Where did Taylor stand as 
regards this classification? 

The engineering type of man [says J. E. Otterson ^] works for 
the solution of a single technical or engineering problem and is con- 
cerned with the determination of the solution rather than the applica- 
tion of that solution to practical activities. The true type has the 
capacity to concentrate continuously on a single problem until the 
solution has been reached. He is interested in the determination of 
cause and effect and of the laws that govern phenomena. He is dis- 
posed to be logical, analytical, studious, synthetical and to have an 
investigating turn of mind. The predominating characteristic that 
distinguishes him from the executive is his ability to concentrate on 
one problem to the exclusion of others for a protracted period, to 
become absorbed in that problem and to free his mind of the cares 
of other problems. He does not submit readily to the routine per- 
formance of a given amount of work. He deals with laws and 
abstract facts. He works from text books and original sources of 
information. Such men are Edison, Steinmetz, the Wright Brothers, 
Curtiss, Bell, Pupine, Fessenden, Browning. These men are the 
extreme of the engineering type; they have enormous imagination, 
initiative, constructive powers. Mr. Taylor was in reality an engi- 
neer rather than an executive. He applied his wonderful inventive 
genius to the invention of management methods. 

^ Formerly a naval constructor, and at this writing president of the Win- 
chester Repeating Arms Company. It was while serving in the navy that 
Mr. Otterson was brought into contact with Taylor and his work. 



The executive type takes the conclusions of the engineer and the 
laws developed by the engineer and applies them to the multitude ol 
practical problems that come before him. His chief characteristic 
is that he works with a multitude of constantly changing problems 
at one time. He concentrates on one problem after another in rapid 
succession. In many instances he has not the time to obtain all of 
the facts and he must arrive at a conclusion or make a decision based 
upon partial knowledge. He must rapidly assimilate available facts 
and fill in what is lacking from the ripeness of his own experience, 
frequently calling on his powers of judgment, and even of intuition. 
He is a man of action, boldness, ingenuity, force, determination, ag- 
gressiveness, courage, decision; he is possessed with the desire to get 
things done, impatient of delay. He works from a handbook, a news- 
paper, or nothing at all. Such men are Schwab, Goethals, Pershing, 
Farrell, Hindenburg, Hoover. 

We frequently find that the leaders of either of these classifications 
possess something of the qualities of both and therefore we have 
executive engineers and engineering executives. The combination of 
a high order of ability in these two classes in a single individual is 
rare and valuable.^ 

Mr. Otterson is not alone in his disposition to question 
Taylor's executive ability; the idea that the father of Scien- 
tific Management was himself a poor manager is indeed widely 
held, and it apparently owes much of its vogue to the fact 
that Taylor himself was in the habit of speaking slightingly 
of his ability in this connection. 

Undoubtedly he had serious defects as a manager. He was 
fundamentally of the engineering type. He was so much 
more of an engineer than an executive that when serving as 
an executive he seemed always in danger of reverting to the 
pure engineer. Nevertheless, any acquaintance with his life 
as a whole which is at all thorough must lead to the conclusion 
that along with his engineering genius went a high order of 

^ Paper printed in The Annals of the American Academy of Political and 
Social Science, September, 1919. 


executive ability. As a large part of this latter ability was 
not native, but was acquired by sheer force of will, it had a 
certain instability j at the same time, he showed in many par- 
ticulars the true executive instinct. 

He ran true to the engineering type, not only in his in- 
stinct to seek or develop original sources of information and 
in his ability to deal with facts and laws in the abstract and to 
concentrate on one problem for a protracted period, but also 
in his love for the peace and quiet of the study or laboratory 
and his tendency to become worried by the manifold and often 
clashing activities of the shop. 

He began to depart from the engineering type and to ap- 
proach the executive as it could not be said of him that he was 
more concerned with the solution of a technical problem than 
with the application of the solution to practical affairs. 

In his autobiographic letter of 1910 to a professional asso- 
ciate, he said: 

You will probably reah'ze that with me investigation, or rather 
invention, is a mental dissipation; that it is a very great amusement, 
rather than a labor; and that if I followed my personal inclination, 
I would be very likely to give the greater part of my time to this 
sort of thing. I realize, however, that no man has the right to do 
very much of this kind of work. This is, of course, especially true 
when you are doing it with other people's money, and all through my 
engineering life I had to keep my conscience in very active service to 
prevent me from devoting too much time to this end of the business, 
and not enough to the less interesting but vital end of every-day 
management and economy. 

Here appears the fact that the development of the execu- 
tive in him was due mainly to his conscience and its outcropping 
in the form of social consciousness. " All of our inventions," 
he said, " are meant to contribute to human happiness." 
Clearly he was of the executive type as he was a productionistj 
was interested in the actual carrying out of the workj was 


aggressive and driving j was able to control, direct, guide, lead, 
and inspire men. And if he was a productionist of the first 
rank, if his enthusiasm for the scientific method was equalled 
only by his enthusiasm for output, it all had its origin in his 
desire to bring more and more wealth into the world that it 
might be enjoyed by all. That was distinctly his solution of 
our economic ills — stop quarreling over the distribution of 
wealth, and by all getting together with a heart and a will, 
so increase production that there will be enough and to spare 
for all. He could not believe that the poverty which is in the 
world could be attributed to the robbery of one set of men by 
another. He must needs believe that the cure of poverty 
lies not in a re-distribution of wealth, but in an increased pro- 

Taking his work as a manager at Midvale, we of course 
must view it in its relation to what was then the general state 
of things. 

Though in the 1870's and i88o's Midvale was far-advanced 
industrially, the emphasis Taylor there found placed on au- 
thority and subordination shows that even in that establish- 
ment there continued to exist much of the old order in indus- 
try, or that preceding the era of large-scale production. So 
much was this the case that when, in 1909, Taylor prepared his 
manuscript for his Harvard lectures he was able to draw the 
following picture of the old conditions largely from his own 

It was my good fortune [he wrote] to be acquainted with several 
of the great industrial leaders of the past, and in fact to personally 
work under two of them. Among the most notable of these great 
men are John Fritz, Bill Jones, Charles J. Harrah, Sr., and last, 
almost a connecting link between the management of the past and 
that of the present, because he was a great manager of both types, 
William Sellers. During the early days of these men none of the 
modern schemes had been invented which have for their purpose the 


individualizing of workmen and the giving to each of them a personal 
incentive for doing his best. I refer to such modern inventions as 
piece work, the payment of premiums, contract work, cooperative 
schemes, task work, and the differential rate. All of these schemes 
taken together now count for more in the successful management 
of men even than the personality of the manager, although a great 
personality still is important, and always will remain a desirable ele- 
ment in management. 

During the days of the old captains of industry, practically all of 
the men of a given trade were paid the same wages. No special 
personal incentive was offered to any of them. The greatest diffi- 
culty was then found in getting men who were able to do good 
work. It was not a question of getting work done cheaply, but rather 
of getting it done at all. It was as a favor that good workmen worked 
for their employers, not in the least a favor that the employers gave 
the workmen something to do. And under these conditions the per- 
sonality of the employer counted perhaps for more than any other 
element. It was not enough for a manager of men to be able, com- 
petent, and well-trained. It was also necessary for him to secure and 
control his men through his attractive and masterful personality. 
Through all times and in all ages the great personal leaders of men 
have had rare gifts which command at the same time the admiration, 
the love, the resfect, and the fear of those under them. [Taylor's 
italics.] Men with this rare combination of qualities are born, not 
made; hence the saying that the captains of industry are born, not 
made. The great captains of industr)' were usually physically large 
and powerful. They were big-hearted, kindly, humorous, lovable 
men, democratic, truly fond of their workmen, and yet courageous, 
brainy and shrewd; with not the slightest vestige of anything soft 
or sentimental about them. Ready at any minute to damn up and 
down hill the men who needed it, or to lay violent hands on any 
workmen who defied them, and throw them over the fence, 
they were men who would not hesitate to joke with the apprentice 
boy one minute and give him a spanking the next. Such men would 
be recognized in any age and in any country as real men, fit to be 
the leaders of other men. 


Plainly Taylor admired these men, and those we admire we 
are likely to emulate. It is certain that, using those " old cap- 
tains " as models, particularly Sellers, and calling on his 
gift for the histrionic, he, as soon as he became gang boss, 
dramatized himself as a person of a quite frightful sort. It 
was of concern to him that his own physique was comparatively 
slight. He often expressed the wish that he were at least six 
feet tall and bulked more impressively. It would seem, how- 
ever, that he became even more of a " holy terror " than the 
" large and powerful " men he sought to emulate, so that we 
here have a fine illustration of the principle that what counts 
is not so much what you've got as your disposition to go as 
far as you can with what you've got. Though it may appear 
that his course here was not without some admixture of 
folly, we may be sure he did not adopt it because he thought 
it was pretty. It was due to his observation of what men like 
Sellers accomplished by instilling fear. 

It should be clear also from what he wrote that the old- 
time captains he so warmly admired were not exponents of just 
plain brutal force. If they spanked an apprentice or threw 
a workman over the fence, it was all done in the spirit of Dr. 
Samuel Johnson's teacher, who always said when he thrashed 
one of his pupils, " This I do to save you from the gallows." 
And here we come to something highly important, to appre- 
ciate which we must have some insight into what was the es- 
sence of the labor problem which grew up coincidently with 
the development of large-scale production. 

Previous to this era which was brought about by more 
powerful and more complex machinery, factories were mostly 
workman-owned, or were personally conducted by their em- 
ployers. Large-scale production, however, made necessary 
the raising of capital on a correspondingly large scale, or on 
a scale so large as to require the pooling of individual re- 
sources. And that ushered in the evils of absentee ownership. 


The owners of the business became separated in space, and 
still more in spirit, from the rank and file of the employees. 
They knew they had put their money into the business to 
get money back, and that is about all they could think of in 
connection with the business. Out of this came a class of over- 
seers or managers — men who knew they would be held re- 
sponsible for only one thing j namely, the making of money. 
And out of this arose a feeling of irresponsibility as far as 
any human relations inside the business were concerned. The 
owners did not feel any responsibility for the human beings 
who worked there j they had employed managers to look after 
all that. On the other hand, the managers did not feel any 
responsibility for the workers, because, you see, they were 
acting only as the agents of the owners. And of course this 
became worse as the business became larger. As more and 
more workers were aggregated in a factory, more and more 
sub-overseers or sub-managers had to be employed, so that 
the physical and spiritual gap between employer and em- 
ployees steadily widened. 

On top of this the need of large-scale capitalization devel- 
oped a special class of financiers — men who specialized in 
the problems of directing capital into paying channels j men 
who acted as agents for owners of capital, with the result of 
further increasing the need of getting money out of the busi- 
ness almost at any cost. 

Lack of contact between owner and worker, between em- 
ployer and employee, complicated in this country by the im- 
migration of millions of men alien to our institutions and lan- 
guage — this indeed explains the rise of the labor problem 
that already had taken definite shape when Taylor began his 
industrial career in the 1870's. 

Now, it is clear that, whatever their limitations, those best 
representatives of the old school of management were free 
from the deadly sin of spiritual aloofness from the mass. 


Products of the days when most factories were owned and per- 
sonally conducted by workmen come up from the ranks, they 
were not conscious of any essential difference between their 
own clay and that of their men. They jollied their men and 
joked with themj bawled them out and beat them up in man 
to man fashion j dealt with them, no matter how roughly or 
savagely, on a plane of simple human relations, of perfect 
social equality. 

Undoubtedly it was the human spirit in which those old- 
timers carried everything off that so attracted Taylor. Not 
only did this spirit appeal to his democratic instincts, but he 
was keen to observe what it accomplished in practical results j 
and his course in clinging to it in the new era which had be- 
gun to develop at the time of his appearance in industry must 
be regarded as illustrative of the perfection with which he 
manifested the evolutionary principle, or that of holding fast 
to what is good even while things are changed that can be 
changed for the better. 

It was under Brinley that he was promoted first to be boss 
of the lathe hands and then to be foreman of the entire shopj 
and in a memorandum prepared for us by Mr. Brinley we 
read: "Taylor was not as tactful as some men, and did not 
show a marked ability at that time to keep on good terms with 
the men in the shop." 

We should say that Mr. Brinley's disposition here was to 
state the thing tactfully. As in setting out to be a terror 
Taylor simulated what was far from natural to him, it per- 
haps was inevitable that he should overdo it. These, more- 
over, were the jubilee days of his youth, the days when he re- 
joiced in his strength as does the young lion. 

If his frightfulness was calculated, was entirely put on, it 
was wholly natural to him not to be " as tactful as some men." 
While in his social relations he had all the tact that naturally 
springs from a courteous, kindly nature, and while he fully 


appreciated, at least theoretically, the value of tact in business, 
he inherited all the Quaker scorn of that sort of thing as it 
partook of the elements of dissemblance and dissimulation. 
True, he himself could diplomatically dissemble and dissimu- 
late. Indeed, so intense was his will to get there, so grim was 
his resolution not to let anything stand in his way, that some- 
times he resorted to stratagems and subterfuges so far from 
guileless as rather to puzzle and pain some of his most devoted 
followers. But by all that was deepest in his nature he was 
prompted to speak the truth regardless of its immediate effect, 
to speak it plainly and, if need be, rudely. 

So much was this the fact that for his " lack of tact " he 
was destined to become widely, and justly, celebrated, as will 
appear from an incident that occurred when the question of 
tact came up while he was testifying in 19 14 before the In- 
dustrial Relations Commission. " Tact? " exclaimed Taylor. 
"Why, I haven't any! " Then, peering mischievously out 
at the audience, he fixed his eyes on his time-study expert 
and devoted admirer, Dwight V. Merrick. " Have I any tact, 
Mr. Merrick," he directly appealed. And the story is that 
Merrick came instantly, dutifully, and loyally to the support 
of his chief with a loud and emphatic " No! " 

From all this we may gather that while Taylor might prac- 
tice diplomatic methods, he was extremely restive under them. 
His patience with anyone's vanity or self-love was quickly 
exhausted, and his attempts to coax or cajole were subject to 
sudden cessations. If his sagacity was such that it would be 
doing him a gross injustice to call him bull-headed, he never- 
theless scorned to overcome opposition by stealing around its 
flank — it was his instinct to drive straight through an obstacle, 
to hit the line in the centre and hit it hard. 



IT will be remembered that soon after he came to Midvale 
he was made clerk of the machine shop. In this position, 
says Brinley, " his duty was to keep the time records and 
watch the work of the men." That he watched their work 
as work never had been watched before, we may easily im- 
agine. He watched it from the viewpoint of the machine 
time as well as of the handling time; but what chiefly inter- 
ested him was the fact that, though practically all the work 
was done on the piece-work basis established by Brinley, the 
shop was turning out only about a third of what it was capable. 
That it did not astonish him will appear from this extract from 
his testimony before the Special House Committee: 

The Chairman. But you were there long enough and worked 
with them long enough to feel that the workmen were soldiering? 

Mr. Taylor. I absolutely knew it. I saw the same thing, Mr. 
Chairman, all through my apprenticeship, from the time I started as an 
apprentice until I got through; the thing was practically universal 
in the shop. 

Knowing the reason' for this soldiering, and being a good 
sport, he played the game with the other workmen when he 
became a lathe hand. He said on the witness stand that per- 
haps he did a little more work than the others, adding: " But 
it was not enough to cause my brother workmen to feel that 
I was breaking rates and making a hog of myself, as they would 
put it." No sooner did he become gang boss, however, than 
he started right in to break the soldiering up. 

To appreciate the full significance of his action we must 
realize that, as represented by Brinley, management already 



had begun to manifest aloofness from the workmen. In all 
likelihood Brinley felt that the best he could do for the work- 
men was to set piece-rates that would give them a proper 
incentive to deliver a fair day's work, and that the rest was 
mainly up to them. The evidence is that if at Midvale the old 
idea of authority and subordination still prevailed, the thing 
was confined principally to men in the management. The 
workmen had become a separate and distinct class. They 
were thought of almost entirely as a mass. 

We know, however, that from the beginning young Taylor 
could not see workmen that way at all. He had the liveliest 
interest in them as individual human beings, if only because 
their viewpoint, their speech, their culture represented a 
novelty for his inquiring mind to explore. It became a point 
of pride with him that he understood them and had good 
friends among them. 

The fact is, indeed, that he deliberately adopted in his 
youth much of the culture of working people and in conse- 
quence revolted, some may think to an extreme extent, against 
what passes for culture with the rest of us. And it was a per- 
manent revolt. Most of the things that are commonly re- 
garded as the accomplishments of a young gentleman and a 
young lady he continued to view with contempt. Even such 
things as a young girl's " coming-out " party became to him 
" ridiculous nonsense " and again " horrible nonsense." He 
could not conceive that a young woman had finish just because 
she could gracefully receive her guests and gracefully be a 
guest, gracefully wear her clothes, and gracefully dance and 
sing and play and chatter about Art. If she scorned the toil 
that fed her and enabled her to sleep warm, then, in his 
opinion, she, so far from having finished her education, had 
not even begun. 

Something of what the culture of working people is may be 
gathered when we reflect that the charm they have at their 


best seems to be that of the plain and simple, the downright 
honest, the unaffected, the unpretentious. That Taylor be- 
came infected with all the workman's typical abomination for 
everything savoring of " putting on lugs," there can be no 
doubt J and it is extremely likely that when he would let 
fall a few " cuss " w^ords in " polite society," it often was 
his sprightly way of protesting against over-refinement and 

His friend, B. Preston Clark, a Boston financier, tells us 
that Taylor seemed to feel instinctively that his contact with 
working people brought him strength j and in this connection 
Mr. Clark points to the fable of Hercules and Antaeus, the 
son of Terra, the Earth. Antaeus, you will remember, could 
not be slain as long as he remained in contact with his mother 
Earth. Again and again Hercules threw him, only to find 
that he rose with renewed strength from every fall, and it 
was not until Hercules lifted him up in the air that he could 
strangle him. 

What in later years was called Taylor's *^ tactless and cold- 
blooded " references to workmen got badly on the nerves of 
many good friends of his cause. Some cold-bloodedness or 
impersonality is, of course, strictly necessary in an engineer. 
He must view labor both as a commodity and as a soulj which 
is to say that sometimes he must view labor with his head, 
and sometimes with his heart. If all head means shortsight- 
edness, all heart means pure sentimentality'. And such was 
Taylor that when he concentrated for the time being on one 
aspect of the matter, it not only '■j:as a concentration, but also 
was likely to be an outspoken deliverance. However, the 
references complained of are mostly to be attributed to the 
fact that he simply could not think of workmen as a race of 
monsters to be constantly conciliated, nor as a special class of 
unfortunates to be spoken of tenderly as one speaks of the 
sick or the insane, nor yet as members of a solid, impeccable, 


sacrosanct class. He remained incorrigible in thinking of them 
as individual human beings to be respected and applauded as 
they had human virtues and reproved and disciplined as they 
had human vices. 

Even so at Midvale he could not help but feel that as the 
workmen were fully as human as the men in the manage- 
ment, they should be subjected to the same rule, and that 
therefore it was for him to break their soldiering up. 

Though he held back with the rest of the men while work- 
ing on his lathe, it is highly probable that, with his " lack of 
tact," he made no bones of letting them know how abhorrent 
this practice was to him. It appears, at all events, that the 
men realized very well what he was likely to do when he re- 
ceived authority over them. 

As soon as I became gang boss [he told the Special House Com- 
mittee] the men who were working under me and who, of course, 
knew that I was onto the whole game of soldiering or deh"berately 
restricting output, came to me at once and said, " Now, Fred, you are 
not going to be a damn piecework hog, are you? " I said, " If you 
fellows mean you are afraid I am going to try to get a larger output 
from these lathes," I said, " Yes; I do propose to get more out." 
I said, " You must remember I have been square with you fellows up 
to now and worked with you. I have not broken a single rate; I 
have been on your side of the fence. But now I have accepted a job 
under the management of this company and I am on the other side of 
the fence, and I will tell you perfectly frankly that I am going to 
try to get a bigger output from those lathes." They answered, 
" Then, you are going to be a damned hog." 

I said, " Well, if you fellows put it that way, all right." They 
said, " We warn you, Fred, if you try to bust any of these rates we 
will have you over the fence in six weeks." I said, " That is all right; 
I will tell you fellows again frankly that I propose to try to get a 
bigger output off these machines." 

Now [continued Taylor] that was the beginning of a piecework 
fight which lasted for nearly three years, as I remember it — two 


or three years — in which I was doing everything in my power to 
increase the output of the shop, while the men were absolutely de- 
termined that output should not be increased. Any one who has been 
through such a fight knows and dreads the meanness of it and the 
bitterness of it. I believe that if I had been an older man — a man 
of more experience — I should have hardly gone into such a fight 
as this — deliberately attempting to force the men to do something 
they did not propose to do. 

In telling the story of this fight, Taylor, as was character- 
istic of him when he got to talking in his pell-mell tempo, 
probably fell into some exaggeration as well as permitted his 
dramatic instinct to splash on the color j but this may easily 
be allowed for, and here is his story just as we find it in the 
official record: 

We fought on the management's side with all of the usual methods, 
and the workmen fought on their side with all of their usual methods. 
I began by going to the management and telling them perfectly 
plainly, even before I accepted the gang boss-ship, what would happen. 
I said, " Now, these men will show you, and show you conclusively, 
that, in the first place, I know nothing about my business; and that, 
in the second place, I am a liar, and you are being fooled, and they 
will bring any amount of evidence to prove these facts beyond a 
shadow of a doubt." I said to the management, " The only thing I 
ask of you, and I must have your firm promise, is that when I say 
a thing is so you will take my word against the word of any 20 men 
or any 50 men in the shop." I said, " If you won't do that, I won't 
lift my finger toward increasing the output of this shop." They 
agreed to it and stuck to it, although many times they were on the 
verge of believing I was both incompetent and untruthful. 

Now, I think it perhaps desirable to show the way in which that fight 
was conducted. 

I began, of course, by directing some one man to do more work than 
he had done before, and then I got on the lathe myself and showed 
him that it could be done. In spite of this, he went ahead and turned 
out exactly the same old output and refused to adopt better methods 


or to work quicker until finally I laid him off and got another man 
in his place. This new man — I could not blame him in the least 
under the circumstances — turned right around and joined the other 
fellows and refused to do any more work than the rest. After trying 
this policy for a while and failing to get any results I said distinctly 
to the fellows, " Now, I am a mechanic; I am a machinist. I do 
not want to take the next step, because it will be contrary to what you 
and I look upon as our interest as machinists, but I will take it if you 
fellows won't compromise with me and get more work off of these 
lathes, but I warn you if I have to take this step it will be a durned 
mean one." I took it. 

I hunted up some especially intelligent laborers who were compe- 
tent men, but who had not had the opportunit}^ of learning a trade, 
and I deliberately taught these men how to run a lathe and how to 
work right and fast. Everjone of these laborers promised me, 
" Now if you will teach me the machinist trade, when I learn to run 
a lathe I will do a fair day's work," and every solitary man, when I 
had taught them their trade, one after another turned right around 
and joined the rest of the fellows and refused to work one bit faster. 

That looked as if I were up against a stone wall, and for a time I 
was up against a stone wall. I did not blame even these laborers in 
my heart; my sympathy was with them all of the time, but I am 
telling you the facts as they then existed in the machine shops of 
this country and, in truth, as they still exist. 

When I had trained enough of these laborers so that they could 
run the lathes, I went to them and said, " Now, you men to whom I 
have taught a trade are in a totally different position from the ma- 
chinists who were running these lathes before you came here. Every 
one of you agreed to do a certain thing for me if I taught you a trade, 
and now not one of you will keep his word. I did not break my word 
with you, but every one of you has broken his word with me. Now, 
I have not any mercy on you; I have not the slightest hestitation in 
treating you entirely differently from the machinists." I said, " I 
know that very hea\y social pressure has been put upon you outside 
the works to keep you from carrying out your agreement with me, 
and it is very difficult for you to stand out against this pressure, but 
you ought not to have made your bargain with me if you did not 


intend to keep your end of it. Now, I am going to cut your rate in 
two to-morrow and you are going to work for half price from now 
on. But all you will have to do is to turn out a fair day's work and 
you can earn better wages than you have been earning." 

These men, of course, went to the management, and protested I 
was a tyrant, and a nigger driver, and for a long time they stood right 
by the rest of the men in the shop and refused to increase their output 
a particle. Finally, they all of a sudden gave right in and did a 
fair day's work. 

I want to call your attention, gentlemen, to the bitterness that was 
stirred up in this fight before the men finally gave in, to the meanness 
of it, and the contemptible conditions that existed under the old piece- 
work system, and to show you what it leads to. In this contest, after 
my first fighting blood which was stirred up through strenuous op- 
position had subsided, I did not have any bitterness against any particu- 
lar man or men. My anger and hard feelings were stirred up against 
the system; not against the men. Practically all of those men were 
my friends, and many of them are still my friends. As soon as I 
began to be successful in forcing the men to do a fair day's work, 
they played what is usually the winning card. I knew that it was 
coming. I had predicted to the owners of the company what would 
happen when we began to win, and had warned them that they must 
stand by me; so that I had the backing of the company in taking 
effective steps to checkmate the final move of the men. Every time 
I broke a rate or forced one of the new men whom I had trained 
to work at a reasonable and proper speed, some one of the machinists 
would deliberately break some part of his machine as an object les- 
son to demonstrate to the management that a fool foreman was 
driving the men to overload their machines until they broke. Almost 
every day ingenious accidents were planned, and these happened to 
machines in different parts of the shop, and were, of course, always 
laid to the fool foreman who was driving the men and the machines 
beyond their proper limit. 

Fortunately, I had told the management in advance that this would 
happen, so they backed me up fully. When they began breaking their 
machines, I said to the men, " All right; from this time on, any ac- 
cident that happens in this shop, every time you break any part of a 


machine you will have to pay part of the cost of repairing it or else 
quit. I don't care if the roof falls in and breaks your machine, you 
will pay all the same." Every time a man broke anything I fined him 
and then turned the money over to the mutual benefit association, so 
that in the end it came back to the men. But I fined them, right or 
wrong. They could always show every time an accident happened that 
it was not their fault and that it was an impossible thing for them not 
to break their machine under the circumstances. Finally, when they 
found that these tactics did not produce the desired effect on the 
management, they got sick of being fined, their opposition broke 
down, and they promised to do a fair day's work. 

After that we were good friends, but it took three years of hard 
fighting to bring this about. 



THOUGH hardly a continuous fight, it did amount 
to a continual series of quarrels, all of which had 
their origin in his unweariable purpose to get out- 
put. Certainly his dramatization of himself as a holy terror 
was no cheap theatrical posej if he indulged in violent out- 
breaks during which he would indeed exhaust the resources 
of the English language — and the German, too, since among 
his men were some of that race — these outbreaks all arose 
out of a spirit of determination itself so quiet that it could 
maintain itself year in and year out/ 

When the material was being gathered for this biography, 
some men who had served under Taylor in those old days 
were found still working at Midvale, and the way they all 
agreed upon one thing about him was impressive. Sooner 
or later in every conversation this thing was touched upon. 
" You had to do what he said " — again and again it was put 
in practically the same words. 

The very first thing you had to do at his compulsion was to 
get a move on yourself, work hard, speed up. That was Fred 
Taylor all over and all through his life: Get into the game! 
Work hard! In his early days he undoubtedly went to ex- 
tremes in his purpose to inject this sporting spirit into industry. 
One man — not a workman, but of the officer class — has told 
us: " Taylor himself worked sixteen hours a day, and thought 

^ Says Bernard Shaw: "Every man whose business it is to work on other 
men, whether as artist, politician, advocate, propagandist, organizer, teacher, or 
what not, must dramatize himself, and play his part." It really amounts to the 
standardization of a mental attitude or siyle calculated to be the most effective. 



everybody else ought to do the same." Nevertheless, not 
even in the jubilee days of his youth, was there any cruelty 
involved in his orders. In the first place it will be seen that 
the cruelty of telling a man to speed up all depends upon the 
pace he is taking at the time you give him the order. But 
the main reason why there was here no cruelty will appear 
in what he said about machine-shop work when it was sug- 
gested to him at the hearings of the Special House Committee 
that the mechanics at Midvale might have resisted the at- 
tempt to get them to do more work because they feared " ulti- 
mate exhaustion." 

Well [replied Taylor, and we may imagine him indulging in a 
grim smile], I never had in mind ultimate exhaustion. I never had 
such a thing in mind, and I do not think any of us in that shop had 
any fear of ultimate exhaustion. I never heard anyone talk about it. 
There was no fear that I ever heard expressed in that shop of anyone 
being overworked. That was not the fear. Perhaps I could make 
the matter clearer to you by telling you that in machine work — 
running machine tools — it is next to impossible to overwork a man. 
In working on the average machine tool, of necessity the greater 
part of the day is spent by the man standing at his machine doing 
nothing except watch the machine work. I think it would be safe 
in saying that not more than three hours of actual physical work 
would be the average that any machinist would have to do in running 
his machine.^ 

Though he must be acquitted of cruelty, it of course was 
not tactful of him to make his men feel that in him they were 
up against an inexorable purpose, a great imperative. Hardly 
is it to be wondered at that they kept appealing over his head 
to Brinley, and that some of the tougher characters thought 
that the thing to do was to shoot him. His friends and rel- 

^ With the steady progress of machine-tools as regards greater degrees of 
automaticity, it might now be possible to overwork a man in a machine shop; 
but what Taylor said was generally true throughout his days in industry. 


atives truly were alarmed, and advised him to abandon his 
custom of walking home along the railroad tracks. His an- 
swer was, " They can shoot and be damned." Not only this, 
but he let it be known by all and sundry that if anyone jumped 
on him or hit him, it would be a case of " bite, gouge, and 
brickbats "^ meaning, of course, that he would not take a 
licking, was not to be stopped by any fighting outside the rules. 

Anyway you look at it, it was remarkable j though facing 
opposition remained his daily lot, and it largely became his 
settled method to beat it down with direct, frontal attacks — 
yes, though his tongue could be acidly sarcastic and he did not 
hesitate to lash with it men whose physical strength presum- 
ably could have overwhelmed him in a minute — we have only 
one unsupported rumor that anyone ever tried to hit him. 
It is said in explanation that, without his stirring hand or 
foot, there seemed to emanate from him a force of mesmer- 
izing intensity. It became common to say of him: " That 
fellow's a regular wild catj better look out how you mix it 
up with him." What is certain is that Taylor not only con- 
sciously practiced the doctrine that the best way to keep out 
of trouble is to let the other fellow know how ready you are 
for it, but also recommended this doctrine to many of the 
young men who came under his influence. He himself prac- 
ticed it so extensively and intensively that many people got the 
idea that fighting was a thing to be enjoyed. All this, how- 
ever, must be read in connection with the fact that in his latter 
years, when he had removed himself from first-hand contact 
with the toil and strife of the mill, his gentler side became 
permanently uppermost and his whole nature mellowed. 

A thing that remained vividly in the memory of all his men 
who were found still at Midvale was his fearsome fining sys- 
tem. He testified, it will be remembered, that having reason 
to believe the men were breaking parts of their machines de- 
liberately, he fined them " right or wrong." In one case he 


began by fining a man two dollars, and then, as the man con- 
tinued to break parts of the machine, doubled the fine each 
time. Thus it became a question of who would hang out the 
longer. It was Taylor who did} for when the fine had risen 
to sixty-four dollars, the man owned up that the breakage 
all along had been deliberate and said he had had enough. 
Another man was fined for having a scratch on his machine, 
and when he protested that he was not responsible for the 
scratch was told that then he was fined for not reporting it. 
Fines were inflicted not only for damage to machines, tools, 
work, or other property of the company, but also for violation 
of the rules such as reporting late or leaving without per- 

" When Taylor established his fining system at Midvale," 
says Carl G. Barth, " he was in a life and death struggle with 
the employees, under industrial conditions totally different 
from those now existing." Writing in 1903 about the prin- 
ciple of fining, Taylor said: 

Every cent of the fines imposed should in some form be returned 
to the workmen. If any part of the fines is retained by the company, 
it is next to impossible to keep the workmen from belienng that at 
least a part of the motive in fining them is to make money out of 
them. . . . 

In many cases the writer has first formed a mutual beneficial as- 
sociation among the employees, to which all the men as well as the 
company contribute, . . . All of the fines can then be turned over 
each week to this association and so find their way directly back to 
the men.^ 

This is what he did at Midvale, and with a fining system 
made less rigorous as that " life and death struggle " passed, 
it remained a permanent feature of that management.^ In- 

^ Shof Management, p. 198. 

- A man who ser\-ed in the ranks at Midvale several years after Taylor 
left there writes us: "The beneficial association established by Taylor was 
an agency of great good. I recall an occasion when I was injured and laid 


cidentally it may be said that Taylor did not establish a fining 
system at any of the plants with which he was later connected, 
although there is no evidence that he ever abandoned his be- 
lief in the principle of such a system as it was administered at 

Now, whatever Taylor's excesses may have been, there can 
be no doubt that on the whole he had brilliant success as 
a manager. In the midst of his violent and repeated quarrels 
with his men, Brinley promoted him from gang boss to fore- 
man. From the beginning he got results for the management 
both in more work and better work. But how was it, it may 
be asked, from the viewpoint of the workmen? 

If the men who were of Midvale's management in Taylor's 
time were found disposed to accompany their words of respect 
for his achievements with something of a dubious nature, the 
fact is that when the writer talked with men who were of the 
rank and file, he found that in every case they expressed for 
Fred Taylor admiration and affection running on into rever- 
ence and worship. The humbler the man, so it seemed, the 
greater the worship. 

They had had to do what he said. But in telling you this 
they smiled as one does when thinking of some endearing trait 
of a friend departed. He had made them hot, but now they 
laughed over it. In one case, right on the marble-top table 
in the little parlor was a framed photograph of Fred Taylor 

up for about ten days, that without it I should have been in rather an uncom- 
fortable position. While I think I only drew on it on this one occasion, I know 
that the sum I received was several times the total of fines which I paid. 
Usually the fines were quite small. Ten or fifteen cents was the most common 
amount, although I recall one case where a man smashed up a large machine 
and damaged an expensive forging on account of having been asleep on the 
night turn, and his fine was $5. Another case I recall was a $10 fine imposed 
by Mr. Charles J. Harrah on a nephew of his who had a habit of sneaking 
out the back way and going to ball games — one afternoon his Uncle Charlie 
caught him. The fines were distributed by the Time Clerk and were commonly 
known as "canaries," being written on a yellow slip; and their real effective- 
ness resulted from the kidding the recipient got from his fellows when 
a canary was delivered to him." 


as he was in those old days more than a quarter of a century 
before. In another case, the photograph was exhibited among 
the others in the family's old-fashioned plush album. In still 
another case, the man excused himself, went upstairs, and re- 
turning with the photograph, eagerly exclaimed : " There he 
is! — that's just what he looked like! " 

Perhaps this phenomenon is to be explained by the mysteri- 
ous factor of personality, or that which enables one man to 
" get away with " what in another man would very likely lead 
to his being hanged. While it may be impossible to define 
a magnetic personality, we know that for the making of it 
one element is indispensable j namely, enthusiasm j and we take 
it that, especially in his early Midvale days, one hardly could 
see Fred Taylor approaching without a tendency to exclaim: 
"Hail to thee, blithe spirit! " 

Among the present executives of the Baldwin Locomotive 
Works is a man who used to be one of a group of young fel- 
lows who, with Taylor, were regular passengers on the 6 a.m. 
Reading train from Germantown. " Fred Taylor," says this 
gentleman, " used to tell us on the train about his work at 
Midvale. Whether or not you took any stock in his ideas, you 
had to take an interest in him. You liked to see him coming 
in your direction. He had a trim form and a finely-shaped 
head. His every motion was brisk and alert. His smile was 
the most engaging thing you ever saw. And after all these 
years I can still see the twinkle and sparkle in those blue eyes 
of his. But the thing that won you most was his enthusiasm; 
even if you didn't understand what it was all about, you went 
on your way after you parted from him with new zest and 
courage for your own work." 

Napoleon, we believe, was a great admirer of 2-o'clock- 
in-the-morning courage, and alongside of it, as a worthy com- 
panion, he might have placed 6-o'clock-in-the-morning enthu- 
siasm. But take enthusiasm at any hour! Is it not indeed 


true that here is the real allegory of the fable of Orpheus, 
the magic musician who moved stones and charmed brutes? 
Consider what enthusiasm is. "Against the hindrance of the 
world," it has been said, " nothing great and good can be 
carried without a certain fervor, intensity, and vehemence j 
these joined with faith, courage, and hopefulness make en- 
thusiasm." The root is in the Greek word theosy god. 

Still at Midvale, that mighty workshop of Vulcan, is heard 
the echoes of Fred Taylor's wondrous enthusiasm. When he 
was there, he combed all of Philadelphia for good men to 
come and work with him. Frequently he would meet these 
men on Sundays. Some of the men who now are officering 
Midvale were brought there in this way. And they will tell 
you how at these meetings Fred Taylor put a spell on themj 
how they were magically persuaded by him to drop the work 
they were doing and follow himj how, to use the words of 
one of these men, they were led by him to believe that " Mid- 
vale must be a regular little mechanical heaven." 

" Fred Taylor not a good manager! " exclaimed the head 
of one of present-day Midvale's great operating departments. 
" That is one of the most ridiculous things I have ever heard. 
Why, that boy as a manager simply was a wonder. He had 
a marvelous flow of language. He couldn't talk fast enough 
to get the ideas out of his head. And the way he adapted his 
talk to the intelligence of the men he was addressing was 
nothing short of exquisite. If a man had only a spark of 
pride, Fred Taylor would fan it into a roaring fire. Why, 
he would have filled up a corpse with enthusiasm, if only 
the corpse could hear! " 

Of course he had to have something more than enthusiasm 
to gain the hold he did upon his men. When Brinley referred 
to Taylor's lack of tact, he immediately added : " On the 
other hand, his intelligence, honesty and courage won the 
men's respect." 


In the midst of telling us about that fining system, one of 
Taylor's old men suddenly broke out laughing. " Say, do 
you know what that bugger used to do? Why — why, he 
used to fine himself! " Doubtless owing to his proneness to 
become absorbed in his intellect, the :^ather of Scientific Man- 
agement was personally quite careless about leaving things 
around. In his home it usually was left to others to enforce 
order in his study and among his general belongings. And 
often at Midvale he would leave a tool where he had been us- 
ing it. Did he do so? Well, slap on himself went a fine. 
And he fined himself also whenever he accidentally damaged 
company property or an order of his as faithfully carried 
out by a subordinate resulted in damage. This spectacle of his 
fining himself provided amusement for the entire establish- 
ment; but it was an early example of his principle of one law 
for all, high and low, and the lesson of it was not lost. 

All through his life he had a habit of not keeping his en- 
gagements on time. It was the one particular in which he 
seemed to be markedly inconsiderate of others, and it naturally 
impressed his friends as a strange trait in one who stood as he 
did for system J but here again he often was as forgetful as an 
absent-minded professor. A man looking for a job at Mid- 
vale was told by him to come back on a certain morning at 
6:30. The man arrived at the appointed hour, to find that 
Taylor had been called from his office to a conference, and it 
was 1 1 o'clock before any Taylor appeared. Having forgotten 
all about the appointment, he had gone from the conference 
to some other place. He now examined the applicant, took 
him on, and then said : " By the way, your time starts from 
6:30." A simple incident, but the rumor of it spread through- 
out the works. 

For the way he gained prestige among his men by his prac- 
tical ability this incident may speak: After he had been placed 
in charge of the general repairs, he wished to have an old 


building repainted, and sent for a man from outside. Learn- 
ing the painter's figure, he promptly vetoed it, and named a 
figure so much lower that the painter exclaimed: "Aw, you 
don't want a man to make a living! " So then Taylor asked 
him how he valued his time. The painter said at so much per 
day. Well, how many days would it t^ke him to do the work? 
And the painter named the number of days that in his judg- 
ment would be necessary. Nonsense, said Taylor, and named 
a much less number. Smiling sarcastically, the painter turned 
to go. But Taylor checked him with the positive statement 
that the work could be done in the lesser number, and he 
would prove it if the painter would do exactly what he was 
told. The fact is that when a similar building had been re- 
painted at Midvale, Taylor had observed both the time uti- 
lized and the time wasted, and so now had an approximate 
idea of how long it should take. To Taylor's wondrous power 
of talking people into doing things, the painter finally suc- 
cumbed. He proceeded to do the job as he was directed; con- 
serving all his effort for the things that were strictly necessary, 
and working briskly throughout. And when he had finished, 
he found that though he got from the Midvale Company a 
sum much less than he had figured on getting, he earned more 
fer day then he ever had earned before. 

Here was one of the earliest applications of the general 
principle of Taylor's time and motion study; and it will be 
seen that at one and the same time the Midvale management 
saved money and the Midvale employee earned more money. 
Incidentally the question may arise as to whether the painter 
felt better at the end of the day when he was working in his 
slack, haphazard way or when he was working in the brisk, 
systematic way that Taylor taught him. Which way of work- 
ing had the more favorable reaction upon his character? 
What we know is that this painter went around saying of 
Taylor: "You can't fool that fellow; he knows what he is 
talking about." 


From Sellers, Taylor learned the little trick of not con- 
fusing a subordinate by telling him he was doing some- 
thing wrong. At all events, he never said, " That is not 
the way to do it," unless he could add, " This is the way." 
At first it was jarring to an old hand to have young Taylor 
say, " Let me show you how to do that." And it was aggravat- 
ing not to be permitted to argue the matter. " No back 
talk now," Taylor would sayj " go ahead and do it." It was 
aggravating, but sooner or later there was likely to appear 
a reason. 

The long quarrel he had with his men taught him the 
lesson that it is not feasible to force men to do what they regard 
as clearly against their interests, and we may believe that his 
overacting of his role of high and mighty ruler largely was 
confined to the period when he was learning this lesson. 
Nevertheless, the management methods he came to devise 
in consequence of his fight with his men were so new and 
strange that he had to go on acting imperiously to get them 
adopted. He became a great believer in object-lessons, and 
he always was in a hurry to set up those object-lessons that 
would demonstrate to his men the benefit to them of his 
methods. In the meantime he explained to them as best he 
could J but there can be no possible doubt whatever that if he 
had relied solely on explanation, he, a pale, gibbering ghost, 
would have been down there at Midvale explaining yet. 

Says Henry L. Gantt, who came to Midvale in 1887: "If 
Mr. Taylor's actions were largely incomprehensible to those 
around him, it was because he always acted in accordance with 
the fundamental reasons of things." Confronted by the fact 
that the alternative to abandoning the attempt to get his 
methods practiced was to go right ahead and bring them to 
pass by " hook or crook," as he called it, he courageously chose 
this alternative and unwaveringly stuck to his course despite 
the laughter of his fellows in the management and the con- 
tinual questioning and balking of the rank and file. 


To this day it continues to be charged against him by those 
who had little or no personal contact with him that at best he 
acted on the principle that workmen are to be considered but 
not consulted and that in the main he was of the " benevolent 
despot ^' type. Those who think he could have consulted 
workmen to a greater extent than he actually did utterly fail 
to realize, it seems to us, that all such methods as his had 
during his days in industry a fearsome novelty they are far 
from possessing in these days of the progressive education and 
development of working people. This aside, if we under- 
stand a despot to be " one who governs according to his own 
will," then it can be most emphatically asserted that Taylor 
was not a despot, benevolent or otherwise. If he set up a 
law which must be obeyed, it was the law, not of his own will, 
but of the one best way. Imperious as Caesar, he was not 
dogmatic or arbitrary. He did not pretend to be a lawmaker 
— only a lawfinder. You had to do what he said, not just 
because he said it, but because he knew the best wayj and you 
had to take his word for this only for the time being, or until 
the thing could be proved by its workings. If you could 
prove that yours was the best way, then he would adopt your 
way and feel very much obliged to you. Frequently he took 
humble doses of his own imperious medicine. 

It will be understood that we here are referring to what was 
his prevailing course, and do not wish to assert that he did 
not have his lapses. One thing clear is that the laughter to 
which he was subjected by his associates and the kicking he 
encountered from his men could not fail to have an unfortu- 
nate effect on one of his zealous and at the same time sociable 
and sensitive nature. He was not the kind of a reformer who 
gets pleasure out of being in opposition; it worried him far 
more than it should j and for this very reason he became un- 
duly anticipative of it and a little too quick on the trigger. 
As one of his men says, he seemed to act on the principle that 
" he who is not with me is against me," and frequently he 


made his orders too absolute. Sometimes he would give a 
man fits for not obeying when the trouble was due, not to 
the man's unwillingness, but to his failure to understand. In 
dealing with a man who was timid or was new to his ways, 
he was likely to scare him so badly that the man would say no 
when he meant to say yes. Apparently, however, he had a 
way of capitalizing even these mistakes — there is testimony 
from all kinds and conditions of men that there was virtue in 
the touch of Fred Taylor's hand on your shoulder, and when- 
ever he was made to realize he had been unjust, he would 
call the victim in and square himself so handsomely that the 
man would go back to work walking on air. 

We should say that Taylor's whole career as a manager 
illustrates, among other things, the fact that the only abso- 
lutely impossible boss is the consistently arbitrary or capri- 
cious one J that in a boss men can put up with almost no end 
of bluntness, brusqueness, or curtness, provided only they can 
see, or he can instill in them faith, that for what he does there 
is, in the main, a reason. A thing that markedly helped Tay- 
lor in this connection was the way he accepted responsibility. 
" I never saw a man who had a greater courage of his con- 
victions than Mr. Taylor," writes William A. Fannon, one 
of the high-grade mechanics who served under him at Mid- 
vale, " and was more willing to rise or fall by his own actions 
and not blame any mistakes on other people." 

Would you think it likely that mechanics would be im- 
pressed by the funty of their boss's life? Several of Tay- 
lor's old men have mentioned this fact about him. In all his 
dealings as a manager he was well served by his character 
in general, and particularly as this made him approachable 
and accessible. He never feared to meet his men. When 
they struck him for a raise, he never dodged the issue. He 
granted the raise, or promised it definitely, or turned the man 
down on the spot. Decisions of all kinds could be obtained 
from him forthwith. He never dodged unpleasantness or 


trouble of any kind. Napoleon at the Tuileries gave strict 
orders to his secretary that he should never be disturbed when 
there was good news — only when there was bad. And what 
Taylor mainly wanted to hear of were the things that were 
wrong, or were exceptional. He encouraged his men to come 
to him with their kicks — not in groups, but singly, and at 
the proper time. He listened attentively, and provided clean- 
cut answers. Thus, however much he might irritate men, they 
had a habit of saying: " Well, you know where you stand 
with the doggone cuss, anyway." 

We gather that the basis of Taylor's fearlessness in 
mingling with his men was the very important fact that he 
was conscious of cherishing no purpose which did not take 
account of them. If there is one thing writ large in the 
history of industry, it is that as soon as a manager sets up a 
good for himself or his principal that is not also a good for 
his men, there is bound to be hate in them and fear in him. 
" Halfness " of dealing being foreign to Taylor's nature in 
every relation, he was inspired, as a matter of fact, to go to 
really remarkable lengths in seeking to promote the highest 
good of his men, and with this end in view, appealing to them 
in definite, concrete ways. 



HE was one of the first men in industry to set out system- 
atically to combat the drink evil/ 

In the early days of the Midvale Steel Works [he wrote to a cor- 
respondent in 1 9 14] the operatives were practically all imported Eng- 
lish workmen and the drinking was excessive. Each day at noon a 
large wagon, loaded with beer and whisky, drove into the middle of 
the works, and the men flocked around it like ants. . . . 

One of the first necessities which we recognized in the building 
up and helping our men was the absolute elimination of alcoholism 
from the works and preventing our men, as far as possible, from 
drinking to excess when outside the works. We, of course, stopped 
the bringing of liquor of any kind or beer into the works. In order 
to prevent many of our men who had the bad habit of drinking 
heavily at noon from doing so, we were obliged to make a rule com- 
pelling them to bring their lunch with them to the steel works and 
not allowing them to go out at noon time. We then made a rule 
that any man who got drunk and was ever obliged to stay away from 
work on this account, or came to work visibly under the effect of 
liquor, was given two serious warnings and talked to in a most seri- 
ous way twice for offenses of this sort. For the third offense, we 
gave the man the choice of either leaving the employ of the company 
or of entirely giving up drinking for a year. In case of Catholics we 
had the most hearty cooperation of the church. In most cases we 
called in the priest who lived near our works, and got him to join 
us in persuading the workmen to join the Catholic Temperance So- 

^ It is said that as early as these Midvale days of his he predicted the 
triumph of prohibition, and that it would prevail not so much for moral reasons 
as economic. 



ciety, and instead of spending their evenings in the saloons to spend 
the time in the living room of the Temperance Society. 

In other cases we induced them to sign a pledge for a year, and time 
and time again, just before the year was up, we went to these men 
and induced them to sign again for a second and third year. 

The result of this was that in a few years drunkenness was prac- 
tically eliminated. 

One of his favorite methods as a manager was this: He 
would send for a man and say: " Pve been watching 
you." And then, while the man was wondering what 
he had done, he would add: " Yes, I've been watching you, 
and Pve discovered you are the kind of a man who works just 
as well when the boss isn't around as when he is. Just for 
that, Pm going to raise your pay. Now, damn you, keep your 
mouth shut." 

He singled out men. No mass treatment. And always he 
sought to pay more money. " Yes, he fined me half a dollar 
for not reporting a scratch on my machine," one of his old 
men told us, " but in that same month he raised my wages 
twice." The spectacle of a man earning good money and 
big money was one he gloated over. Phrases that fell trip- 
pingly from his lips were " first-class man " and " high- 
priced man." 

Now, strictly speaking, this was the only kind of a work- 
man for whom he had any respect. He never attempted to 
disguise the fact that he aimed to set tasks by what a first- 
class man can doj and here, in later years, he had difficulty 
in making himself understood. As practically all of his talk 
was of, and apparently all his thought was for, the first- 
class man, it was wondered what he proposed to do with the 
second-class man — cast him out? This question was one he 
and William B. Wilson debated at length at the hearings of 
the Special House Committee. And the substance of his at- 
titude in this connection will be found in these words: 


I believe the only man who does not come under " first-class " as 
I have defined it, is the man who can work and won't work. I have 
tried to make it clear that for each type of workman some job can be 
found at which he is first class, with the exception of those men 
who are perfectly well able to do the job but won't do it. 

That is to say, there are only two reasons why a man ever 
is second class j either he is doing work for which physically 
or mentally he is unfitted, or he is unwilling to give of his 
best. Taylor certainly did not propose to set up a standard 
for any work that was based on what could be done by a man 
who was unsuited for that work. On the other hand, he did 
propose to set up standards that called for the best effort of 
those who were suited for itj and the man unwilling to give 
of his best he would indeed consign to the outer darkness. 

However, he fully realized the folly of confusing first- 
class effort with effort that amounts to strain. " It must be 
distinctly understood," he wrote, " that in referring to the 
possibilities of a first-class man the writer does not mean what 
he can do when on a spurt or when he is over-exerting him- 
self, but what a good man [i.e., a man suited for the job] can 
keep up for a long term of years without injury to his health. 
It is a pace under which men become happier and thrive." ^ 

Perhaps, even as thus explained, there will cling to this 
Taylor doctrine an impression of hardness, of something re- 
lentlessly exacting. The fact is, however, that there is testi- 
mony from man after man who worked under Taylor that 
no matter how much they might resent for the time being 
what he did to them, they eventually had to take off their 
hats to him on account of what he did for them. Here is a 
letter from Charles W. Shartle, a high-grade mechanic who 
worked two years at Midvale and now has a business of his 
own} after telling us how angry he had been made by some 
of Taylor's harsh and sarcastic remarks and how much he 

^ Shof Management, p. 25. 



resented Taylor's way of making his orders too absolute, he 
goes on to say: 

Shortly after I started I was given a casting to lay out for drilling, 
and I made a mistake in laying it out, which I believe was partly due 
to an imperfect drawing, and I did not know Mr. Taylor very well 
at that time, and while the casting did not amount to much more than 
fifteen or twenty dollars, I thought that I had made a terrible mis- 
take, and that it would reflect upon me, and I believed that I would 
be discharged, and I did not want to leave that way, so I thought the 
best thing to do was to quit, and if I remember correctly I gathered 
my tools together and had my overalls rolled up and ready to walk 
out before I told Mr. Taylor what happened, and I think he gave 
me a talk which lasted about an hour, and my recollection of that 
conversation was, that a man who never made a mistake never did 
anything, and that he felt sure that by making this mistake, I, as 
well as the company, would be benefited, and that he would expect 
me to put forth better efforts, not only to be accurate, but to do 
extra work to make up for this mistake, and with that understanding 
no fine would be attached, or no one would know of this mistake ex- 
cept he and I. . . . 

I do not believe I ever met a man who could get more out of me 
than Mr. Taylor did. While I did not agree with his ideas of system, 
I think that the time that I spent with him was of more benefit to me 
than any other man I ever came in contact with, and I believe if I 
had stayed with him we would always have gotten along together. 
And I still further think that my having my own ideas about certain 
things would have been a benefit to him, because I think that in a good 
many things he was an extremist. In fact, if he had not been an 
extremist he would never have accomplished anything like the work 
he did. 

I do not believe any one could ever come in contact with Mr. 
Taylor without absorbing some of his enthusiasm, and that anyone 
who came in contact with him once, would not readily forget him. 
I left Midvale in the spring of 1886, and I never met Mr. Taylor 
again until about 1905, and then it was just by accident. I was trans- 
acting some business at a bank window in Philadelphia, and I heard 


Mr. Taylor talking at the window next to me, and it was not neces- 
sary for me to see him to recognize him. 

While working under Mr. Taylor we worked hard. When he 
would give us a job he would tell us when he expected it finished, 
and there was no reason to ask any questions about it, or argue the 
matter, and it was up to us to finish it, even if we had to work all 
night to get it done. We used to go off in the early part of the 
evening to keep an engagement, and then go back to the shop and 
finish the night to get the job finished.^ 

I suppose boys do this same thing to-day, but I do not know where 
the boys are. I wish I could find a few to work for me. I suppose 
it is because I do not drive them to it as Mr. Taylor drove us, or sup- 
pose I do not get the enthusiasm into them, or show them the impor- 
tance of it. But I believe boys to-day are the same as they were 
then, and I cannot help but believe that we did our work and worked 
as hard as we did, just because we wanted to please Mr. Taylor. 

Among other things, Taylor gave his men vivid lessons in 
the value of timej but from all we can learn we should say 
that the main thing he did for them was to cure them of what 
William James calls the habit of inferiority to your full self. 
Though the man who does this may seem for the moment 
to be your enemy, time certainly must show that he is your 
very best friend. This especially when he does his partj and 
the effort Taylor exacted from the employee must be inter- 
preted in the light of what he exacted from the employer. 
He held, for example, that the management must find the 
work for which the employee is best fitted, must help him to 
become first class in this work, and provide him with all due 
incentive to give of his best. 

Fully to understand his doctrine of the first-class man we 
also must link it up with his doctrine of the will to get there. 

^ Mr. Shartle here refers, of course, not to regular or routine jobs, but to 
special ones such as resetting machines that had shifted from their foundations 
and to other repairs and new work calling fop haste. It was for these special 
jobs that mechanics of Shartle's grade were particularly employed. 


It was his observation that men differ not so much in brains as 
in will, in spirit. The will is the man, the spirit is the life. 
" If a man won't do what is right," said Taylor, " make him." 
It shocked many persons 5 but here was just another proof 
of his thoroughness, of his determination to get results from 
all kinds and conditions of men. His thought-out method was 
to begin, as it were, panissimo e calmatOy and as this failed 
to get results, call on the " science of profanity " and proceed 
crescendo to fortissimo e furioso. 

There is a large class of men [he wrote] who require no dis- 
cipline in the ordinary acceptance of the term; men who are so sen- 
sitive, conscientious and desirous of doing just what is right that 
a suggestion, a few words of explanation, or at most a brotherly ad- 
monition is all that they require. In all cases, therefore, one should 
begin with every new man by talking to him in the most friendly 
way, and this should be repeated several times over until it is evident 
that mild treatment does not produce the desired effect. 

Certain men are both thick-skinned and coarse-grained, and these 
individuals are apt to mistake a mild manner and a kindly way of 
saying things for timidity or weakness. With such men the severity 
both of words and manner should be gradually increased until either 
the desired result has been attained or the possibilities of the English 
language have been exhausted.^ 

It may be that his cahnato was likely to leap with bewil- 
dering quickness to furioso ; but the particular point here is that 
however much he may have overemphasized the use of force 
and discipline, the object of it never was " nigger-driving," 
as he called itj never that of lashing men into becoming 
broken-willed slaves. Coercion, as Felix Adler has said, may 
be of two kinds: "stimulative and repressive j stimulative to 
overcome inertia, repressive to subject wrong to right im- 
pulses." Mainly of the stimulative type, the coercion by 
Taylor was repressive only in the sense here specified. It was 

^ S/tof Management, p. 196. 


the very opposite of suppressive. He shocked, stung, and 
provoked his men with the deliberate purpose of arousing in 
them their power of will, of bringing their spirit forth. And 
a very interesting thing about it is that he seems instinctively 
to have realized that the will cannot act without a purpose, 
that the purposive will is the only will — that, in fine, all 
will is the will to get there y to attain some object, some goal. 

In Cro'-jcdsj by the English essayist Gerald Stanley Lee, we 
find this statement which may well seem extravagant: 

I think that while Christ would not have understood Frederick 
Taylor's technique, his tables of figures or foot-tons or logarithms, 
He would have understood Frederick Taylor. 

Nearly all the time that He could be said to have spent in His life in 
dealing with other men He spent in doing for them on a nobler scale 
the thing that Frederick Taylor did. He went up to men — hundreds 
of men a day, that he saw humdrumming along, despising themselves 
and despising their work and expecting nothing of themselves and 
nothing of any one else and asked them to put their lives in His hands 
and let Him show what could be done with them. 

This is Frederick Taylor's profession. 

Such words do seem extravagant j but, apparently through 
some power of intuition, Mr. Lee got pretty close to the facts. 
At Midvale Taylor did go to men he saw " humdrumming 
along " and give them a vision, a purpose, a goal, such as 
would enable them to forget the roughness of their path and 
rise above the hard knocks of discipline. 

He seems to have been greatly concerned over the men who 
regularly did nightwork. A man could not get his proper 
sleep when working at night. Anyway, a man ought to have 
a place to go w^hen his work was over where he could properly 
rest J a place well away from the works where there were no 
street cars banging byj a place with a little garden j a proper 
place for his children 5 a nice little place to which he could 
retire when his working days were over. All his talks seem 


to have been homely enough, the Lord knows. But why talk 
a hundred to men who are at zero? The high is always rela- 
tive j and we can well believe that Fred Taylor spoke to those 
men as they never had heard a man speak before. He in- 
deed asked them to place their lives in his hands. Let them 
follow him. " Do as I tell you," said he, " and you will get 

He appealed to them to save their money and invest it 
wisely. He placed great importance on this. He read little 
lectures on thrift even to the colored folk who served in his 
parents' home. He wanted to make a capitalist of everybody. 
And his were not just plain exhortations to save 5 he was 
ready to give instructions in the details of saving and invest- 
ment. It must be admitted that in all respects he talked " old 
stuff " — the very sort that was preached by that mossy old 
ruin, Benjamin Franklin. Be sober, honest, diligent, thrifty. 
Guard your health. Respect your boss. Serve him his way, 
not yours; for he carries the responsibility. Give and con- 
tinue to give without being in a hurry about getting. Cast 
some bread upon the water. Give more than is required of 
you. Give of your best. Such terribly old stuff, this, that 
it does seem to hark 'way back to that old-time Carpenter's talk 
about good and faithful ser\^ants and where the Kingdom of 
Heaven is situated. And has it not struck the reader as curi- 
ous that, in seeking to get those Midvale workmen to follow 
him, Fred Taylor spoke so much about rest? The principle 
seems to have been: "Work, for the night is coming." 

Among the old Midvale men who love him and those who 
do not, there is unanimity as to this: that all of his fighting was 
aboveboard; that it was strictly impersonal, was free from 
vindictivenessj that as soon as a man got in line the past was 
forgotten j that all those who did what he told them to do got 
there as he predicted; that every promise he made was re- 
deemed in full. A man of the officer class who was free 


in talking about Taylor's " monkey mind " told us almost 
with the same breath : " When I came here, Taylor said that 
if I followed a certain course through a term of years I would 
rise to a certain place, and it came out just as he said." So 
often were his predictions found to partake of prescience that 
he came to enjoy at Midvale the reputation of a prophet. 

Of course he could not influence every man. If there is 
nothing so contagious as enthusiasm, there are natures which 
are from this contagion immune. When fire comes in con- 
tact with ice, there is a hissing. And industry has its men who 
are born morally defective: not only shirkers and loafers who 
apparently are incurable, but also chronic kickers against all 
authority.^ Such men could not breathe the same air as Tay- 
lor. Voluntarily or with assistance, they melted from his 
presence. All through his life he let it be known that he had 
no use, as he expressed it, for " a bird that can sing and 
won't sing." 

It would seem that he fired men, not only for being unwill- 
ing, but also for being too willing, or for going ahead too fast 
for him. That is to say, if one of his men developed so as 
to become worthy of a larger opportunity than Midvale could 
provide for him, he sought to get him a position with another 
company where his abilities could find fuller scope and he 
would be paid accordingly. On the witness stand Taylor said 
that when it became known at Midvale that he was doing 
this, " Mr. Sellers almost frothed at the mouth." But he 
continued to advocate this thing on principle j his idea being 
that what the company might suffer from losing a good man 
in this way would be more than made up to it in the incentive 
it would give those who remained. 

He had undisguised scorn for the employee who keeps his 
resignation " hanging up on a peg," ready to take it down 

1 Students of the new psychology will recognize these as "rebellious little 
boys who have forgotten to grow up." 


whenever his feelings are hurt by a rebuke or severe criticism. 
It was wholly natural that having thrived on discipline him- 
self, he should believe in it for other men, including his 

But perhaps something like this may be said : " Oh, yes, 
Mr. Sellers and the rest of them put young Taylor through a 
pretty hard game, and doubtless he stood up under their 
punishment pretty well. But, after all, they were of his own 
class — for all their harshness to him he was accepted by them 
as one of their own kind — and that made it easy for him 
to take their punishment." 

It would appear that right here we have the most funda- 
mental reason why every willing, self-respecting workman 
with whom Taylor came in contact consented to his rule, 
austere though it was, and mysterious and disturbing as were 
many of the things he demanded of them as he sought to get 
established his new system. Driving them or leading them, 
shoving them along or pulling them along, arguing with them 
or appealing to them, swearing to them or apologizing to 
them, he actually was one of them, and they felt it. 

A mechanic who long since has risen to a high management 
position tells us of an occasion when he went to Taylor to 
complain that he was being unjustly treated and to say he 
would not stand for it any longer. To his amazement, Tay- 
lor suddenly " jumped on " him and used him as a " mop for 
cleaning up the floor." 

" I give you my word," this man said, " that what I took 
from Mr. Taylor that day I never would have taken from 
another human being. I was a coward, a damned quitter. 
I had no guts. I was a little yellow dog. Never before had 
I heard, much less had directed at me, such a stream of abuse. 
No J I wouldn't have taken it from another human being." 

" Well," it was asked, " why did you take it from him? " 

" I don't know, except it was the man's magnetism." 


" Are you sure there isn't a better explanation than that? " 
He thought it over. " Well," he said, " I suppose the real 
reason was that I could not help but feel that Mr. Taylor 
meant it for my own good." 

There was calculation in his friendliness as there was in 
his frightfulness. He had figured out its effectiveness. Never- 
theless, it was not affected. He gave full reign to his mis- 
chievousness and at the same time was perfectly sincere when 
in his lecture at " aristocratic " Harvard he said: 

The working man and the college professor have fundamentally 
the same feelings, the same motives, the same ambitions, the same 
failings, the same virtues. And a moment's thought must convince 
any one of the truth of this fact, since the college professors of the 
present are universally the descendants of the working men of the 
past, while the descendants of the college professor are sure, in the 
course of time, to again return to the working classes. We 
are all of the same clay, and essentially of the same mental as well as 
physical fibre. 

The present day mechanics who served under Taylor fol- 
lowed his later career with intense interest, and you could 
not help but realize that they viewed his achievements al- 
most as if they had been their own. Their pride in him was 
immense. They boasted that he had told them he cared more 
for them than for any of his later men, because, they said, " we 
were his first pals." It would seem, then, that when you see 
yourself in the other fellow, he sees himself in you. 

Now, among the sarcastic remarks which Taylor used to 
toss off to his men, the one that caused them to rear and 
plunge the most will appear in this statement by William A. 
Fannon: " I often thought Mr. Taylor would have made 
more rapid progress if he had been more tactful and not so 
willing to combat in such an intense way anyone who did not 
agree with him. A remark that always impressed Mr. 
Shartle and myself was one he sometimes used when we op- 


posed him or discussed a proposition with him. * You are not 
supposed to think,' he would say. ' There are other people 
paid for thinking around here.' " To this Mr. Shartle adds: 
" I never would admit to Mr. Taylor that I was not allowed 
to think. We used to have some hot arguments just over 
that point." 

Can you imagine any other manager not merely telling his 
men this, but actually arguing it out with them! Quite likely 
the spirit of it was largely in Taylor's mischievous or " kid- 
ding " vein J nevertheless, he had in mind something not 
merely serious but very important; and when we come in our 
next chapter to deal with his work as a mechanical engineer, 
we should be able to see just what this was. 



THERE were great opportunities for invention in the 
steel industry when he went to Midvale. Presently 
he saw that, to take full advantage of such opportuni- 
ties, he would have to be grounded in the history and theory of 
the mechanical art. Hence his study at home of the courses ar- 
ranged by a first-class institute of technology. He finished 
this study with his head full of " great and wonderful pro- 
jects," not only for the designing of machines, but also for 
the simplification of processes, and the revolutionizing of the 
methods of the whole establishment. After a while, it was 
beaten into his head that, however amusing such projects were 
to him, they were hardly what his employer was looking for. 
This led him to concentrate his attention on every-day im- 
provements, and here again he had to learn something. 

As in his later years he was wont unconventionally to ex- 
press it in his platform talks to business men, he found that 
while he always would say to himself, " Well, Freddy, that 
last invention of yours was probably the greatest thing that 
ever happened," the vast majority of his first inventions turned 
out to be " not worth a damn." Analyzing his failures, he 
found they could generally be attributed to the fact that his 
inventions were not based on sufficient study of what already 
had been invented or was in use. He had been inventing 
de novo, had been repeating old errors — at the best had been 

Early in his Midvale days he appeared at William Sellers' 
machine-building plant with a roughing tool which, just de- 
signed by him, he proclaimed with all his wonted enthusiasm. 



" Yes," J. Sellers Bancroft, a nephew of the owner, agreed 
at once, " that is a very good tool." 

" How do you know? " asked Fred Taylor suspiciously. 

" Well," was the reply, " I think we have been using it 
here for two years at least." 

As the Sellers plant was a regular hive of inventive in- 
genuity, he was fated to have repeated experiences of this 
humiliating kind, and the lesson of them may well have 
largely prompted his action in joining the American Society 
of Mechanical Engineers. This was in 1886, when he was 
thirty, and the society was six years old. It is certain that he 
became a diligent student of the papers presented to this 
society, and so kept in touch with the best thought in his 

Now, when with his magnificent disdain of tact he told 
his men they were not supposed to think, it undoubtedly had 
largely to do with the principle he learned from Sellers, that 
a subordinate should do his best to follow out his instructions 
before he tries to improve on them. And the probabilities are 
that this principle was strongly reenforced in his mind by his 
humiliating experiences with many of his early inventions. 
What we know is that he derived from these experiences an 
uncommonly good grip on a principle closely allied to the 
foregoing j this latter one being that unless or until you are 
in a position to think to some furfosey you would better not 
try to think at all — that is, not try to think originally — but 
content yourself with the implements and instructions others 
give you.^ 

As a matter of fact, in Taylor's early distinction between 
thinking and doing we can see in embryo the idea back of his 

^ We believe that under the new pedagogy students are encouraged to try 
to work things out for themselves even before they have become familiar with 
what already is known, this with the idea of an early development of their 
powers of initiative. We do not understand, however, that anyone yet has 
made clear how this can be applied in industry where men must cooperate to dis- 
charge tasks in the minimum amount of time. 


later sweeping segregation of planning from execution, or 
that which was the basis of the system having for its grand 
objects scientific standardization and control. This being so, 
we shall have occasion to deal extensively with this matter 
again. Here we shall simply introduce what Taylor revealed 
of his attitude in this connection when the subject came up 
while he was testifying before the Special House Committee, 
" If," said the chairman, " the workman has to obey in- 
structions implicitly as to how the work should be done, would 
he not thereby simply become an automaton, and would not 
that ultimately reduce the skill and the value of the skill of 
the workman? " Taylor's reply incidentally will afford a good 
example of his sarcastic vein: 

Mr. Chairman, I want to give an illustration in answer to that 
question, because I think my answer can be made very much clearer 
through an illustration than through a single sentence. 

The workmen — those men who come under scientific management 
— are trained and taught just as the very finest mechanic in the world 
trains and teaches his pupils or apprentices. Now, I think you will 
agree with me as to who this finest and highest-class mechanic in the 
world is. So far as I know there will be no question about him, 
for we will all agree that the highest-class mechanic in the world is 
the modern surgeon. He is the man who combines the greatest manual 
dexterity and skill with the largest amount of intellectual attainment 
of any trade that I know of — the modern surgeon. 

Now, the modern surgeon applied the principles of scientific man- 
agement to his profession and to the training of the younger surgeons 
long before I was born — long before the principles of scientific 
management were ever dreamed of in the ordinary mechanical arts. 
Let us see how this man trains the young men who come under him. 
I do not believe that anyone would have an idea that the modern sur- 
geon would say to the young doctors who come into the hospital or 
who come under him to learn the trade of surgeon — I do not think 
the surgeon would say anything of this kind: " Now, boys, what I 
want of all things, is your individuality, your inventiveness." 


I do not think that anyone for an instant would dream that a 
surgeon would say to his young men, for instance : " Now, young 
men, when we are amputating a leg, for instance, and we come 
down to the bone, we older surgeons are in the habit of using a 
saw, and for that purpose we take this particular saw that I am hold- 
ing before you. We hold it in just this way, and we use it in just 
this way. But, young man, what we want, of all things, is your 
initiative. Don't be hampered by any of the prejudices of the older 
surgeons. What we want is your initiative, your individuality. If 
you prefer a hatchet or an ax to cut off the bone, why chop away, 
chop away! " Would this be what the modern surgeon would tell 
his apprentices? Not on your life! But he says, "Now, young 
men, we want your initiative; yes. But we want your initiative, 
your inventive faculty to work upward and not downward, and until 
you have learned how to use the best implements that have been de- 
veloped in the surgical art during the last hundred years and which 
are the evolution of the minds of trained men all over the world; 
until you have learned how to use every instrument that has been 
developed through years of evolution and which is now recognized 
as the best of its kind in the surgical art, we won't allow you to 
use an iota of ingenuity, an iota of initiative. First learn to use 
the instruments which have been shown by experience to be the best 
in the surgical art, and to use them in the exact way we will show 
you, and then when you have risen up to the highest knowledge in 
the surgical art, then invent, but, for God's sake, invent upward, not 
downward. Do not reinvent implements and methods abandoned 
many years ago." 

That is precisely what we say to the workmen who come under 
scientific management. No set of men under scientific management 
claims that the evolution has gone on enough years to be in the same 
high position as is occupied by the surgeon, but they do claim that 
the 30 years of scientific investigation and study (which goes on 
under scientific management) of the instruments that are in use in 
any trade, whatever it may be, have enabled those engaged in this 
study to collect at least good instruments and good methods, and we 
ask our workman before he starts kicking: "Try the methods and 
implements which we give you; we know at least what we believe 


to be a good method for you to follow; and then after you have tried 
our way if you think of an implement or method better than ours, 
for God's sake come and tell us about it, and then we will make an 
experiment to prove whether your method or ours is the best, and 
you, as a workman, will be allowed to participate in that experi- 
ment. It is not a question of your judgment or my judgment or 
anyone's judgment; it is a question of actual experiment and time 
study to see whether this suggestion is better than the standard we 
have had in the past." And if it proves to be better, what I advocate 
every time is, not only that the new method shall be adopted, but 
that the man who made the suggestion be paid a big price for having 
improved on the old standard. 

We do not think of the average surgeon as an automaton, 
because, even if he does not originate his implements and 
methods, we know that the proper use of his implements re- 
quires a dexterity we cannot possibly associate with a ma- 
chine, and we know also that the drilling to which he has been 
subjected to enable him to comprehend the why and wherefore 
of his methods has made it necessary for him to use his brains. 
It is a big mistake to think that those who do not think orig- 
inally do not think at all. Really original thinkers are the 
great exception. The best the vast majority of us can do 
is to travel after them through the fields they have explored. 
Many of us cannot even follow instructions efficiently. Man- 
agers know that those men are comparatively rare who have 
sufficient power of concentration quickly to grasp instructions 
in any way complex. Yet the ability to concentrate at will 
is the essence of the ability to think. It was Taylor's idea that 
the ability to follow instructions quickly, alertly, and snappily 
is a gift having social value fully equal to that of the ability 
to originate. He of course knew it is more amusing to try 
to work out things for yourself j but, as will more fully ap- 
pear later, his position was that while work should be made 
as interesting and even as pleasurable as possible, amusement 


and work do not go well together. Work while you work (and 
make it interesting) j then play while you play. 

In his " Success " lecture, which, it will be remembered, 
was addressed to engineering students, he said: 

There is one rock upon which many a bright and ingenious man 
has stranded. Invention may be properly called almost the dissipa- 
tion of our profession. Perhaps the greatest temptation to the en- 
gineer who loves his profession is that of indulging his inventive 
faculty. Many of our brightest men practically spend their lives 
in worrying over the great improvements and inventions which they 
have in their minds. They squander all of their own and much of 
their friends' money in trying to make them pay after they have been 
perfected. Now for the average man no invention can be looked 
upon as a legitimate invention which is not an improvement on 
mechanism or processes or appliances which are already in existence, 
and which are successful. It is thoroughly illegitimate for the 
average man to start out to make a radically new machine, or method, 
or process, nev/ from the bottom up, or to do things most of which 
have not already been done in the past. Legitimate invention should 
be always preceded by a complete study of the field to see what other 
people have already done. Then some one or more defects should 
be clearly recognized and analyzed, and then it is entirely legitimate 
for the engineer to use his ingenuity and his inventive faculty in 
remedying these defects, and in adding his remedy to the existing 
elements of the machine or the process which have already been found 
to work well. Any other invention than this should be looked upon 
as illegitimate, since it is almost sure to waste the money of your 
employer, as well as your own, and to result in partial, if not com- 
plete, disaster. Throughout the manufacturing world there exists 
a proper and legitimate suspicion and dislike for the man who is 
forever coming forward with new and radical improvements and 

Here we see that Taylor deprecated most attempts to be 
original on the part, not only of workmen, but also of engi- 
neers. Many attempts to be original are, in fact, due to in- 


ordinate egotism j the would-be originator thinks he is too 
grand a person to follow where others have trod. An egotistic 
desire to be original," to do great and glorious things, to be 
revolutionary, is notoriously a weakness of youth. If Taylor 
himself really came to do great things, it was just because the 
desire to do them was early knocked out of him. Beginning 
in the management field with no desire other than that of 
adding his humble improvement to what had been found good, 
he followed a strictly evolutionary course throughout} he be- 
came revolutionary only in relation to the mass of his con- 
temporaries, and this was due to his superior enterprise and 
boldness in pursuing the logic of events, or in taking the 
further steps made necessary by those he already had taken. 

Fortunately, in the case of the steam-hammer he designed 
in the latter part of his Midvale career, we have an excellent 
concrete illustration of how a thing which is strictly evolu- 
tionary in principle may have what practically amounts to a 
revolutionary result. 

By all who are familiar with his work at Midvale, this 
steam-hammer is regarded as his crowning achievement there 
in the strictly mechanical field. H. D. Booth, who at the 
time was in charge of Midvale's hammer department, tells 
us that, when in the 1890's he visited the great French gun 
works of Creuzot and the Krupp works in Germany, he found 
that the best of the steam-hammers in those leading European 
establishments could not compare in rapidity and general 
efficiency to Taylor's. For twelve years, or until it was dis- 
mantled to give way to the hydraulic press, the Taylor ham- 
mer continued to work without a breakdown, an extraordinary 
record in view of the fact that all previous steam-hammers 
had been in the habit of early battering themselves to pieces. 

When completed, it appeared to be a startling novelty. " I 
do not know," says Gantt, " of any more daring piece of 
engineering construction." Its novelty first of all lay in the 



An orig-inal drawing- found in the Taylor files 


fact that it represented a repudiation of the theory that large 
bodies must move slowly, which theory apparently had uni- 
versally prevailed among designers of steam-hammers. " Mr. 
Taylor," says Gantt, " recognized that large bodies could be 
made to move as rapidly as small ones, if only sufficient power 
were applied to them. Accordingly he supplemented a fall- 
ing weight of twenty-five tons by fifty tons of top steam, and 
designed a hammer whose rate of action was nearly three 
times as fast as other hammers of the same class." But 
wherein this hammer was most startlingly novel was that it 
was designed to keep its alignment, not through great mass 
and stiffness as had been the case with every other steam- 
hammer without exception, but through the elasticity of its 
parts J Taylor insuring this elasticity by designing and supply- 
ing with greaH: initial tension an arrangement resembling great 
spider legs, which consisted of oil-tempered steel bolts 
four inches in diameter and twenty feet long. And it was 
dependence upon this principle of elasticity which enabled 
him to build a hammer which, for its weight, had far greater 
power than any other hammer ever built, and did not batter 

Disguising the incident so as to avoid the appearance of 
boasting, Taylor thus described how he had gone about de- 
signing his hammer: 

There was a machine, a large number of which were in common 
use, and of which there were many designs and types used all over 
the world. This machine was of such a nature that it battered 
itself to pieces. Almost all of its parts broke. There was a young 
engineer who had many of these machines to use in his manufactur- 
ing department, and who decided to try to build a machine that 
would not batter itself to pieces. He spent one or two years in col- 
lecting, from all over the world, data about the various machines 
that had been designed, until he found instances in which some one 
of the parts of each of the various machines of different designs had 


never broken. He then copied the design of each of the parts which 
had not broken, collecting one element from one machine, an- 
other from another, another from a third, etc. There was, how- 
ever, one portion of the machine of which he could find no single 
instance of a design which had not, at some time or other, broken. 
He devoted his special energy and ingenuity to the study of this 
element, and finally evolved what he believed would be a principle 
which would prevent it from breaking. He then constructed a ma- 
chine containing all of the parts already existing which had not 
broken, plus the one of his own design and patent, which he believed 
would not break, and as a result obtained a machine which lasted for 
many years without a single breakdown — the first instance of its 
kind in the history of that art.^ 

So revolutionary was this hammer in the main that, espe- 
cially when we consider that it cost upwards of $200,000, it 
seems doubtful that it ever would have got beyond the blue- 
print stage if its designer had not been in a position and had 
the courage to go ahead and build it on his own responsibility. 
Yet it was the outcome of a strictly evolutionary process. 

Incidentally it may be mentioned that when the hammer 
was put into every-day operation, and this was soon after 
Taylor left Midvale, it was found to contain, as one man 
expressed it, " several thousand dollars worth of frills," and 
these had to be stripped from it to enable it to do its best 
work. Here appears Taylor's tendency to overdo, to make 
assurance trifly sure. And it illustrates one of the perverse 
traits of human nature that apparently there were men who 
thought the important thing was, not that Taylor designed the 
most rapid and efficient steam-hammer in the world, and 
thereby for many years markedly increased the plant's earn- 
ing capacity, but that he spent a few thousand dollars more 
than was strictly necessary. However, we shall see that 
Charles J. Harrah, the younger, then the company's presi- 

^ " Success " lecture. 


dent, thoroughly appreciated this mechanical triumph of his 
young chief engineer. Lift his eyebrows Harrah might 
over that young man's tendency to make the money flyj at 
the same time, the indications are that he would have been 
quite willing to have all his men spend all that Fred Taylor 
spent, and then some more, provided their spending saved 
the money that Taylor's did. 

Returning to those days when he was trying out his wings 
as a designer, we may report that another thing he had to 
learn through sad experience was that a machine may be at 
one and the same time a fine success mechanically and a dismal 
failure commercially j that while it may admirably do all it 
is designed to do, it may, for example, be so radical in nature 
as to require too much educational work to get people to use it. 
He learned this lesson so well that sometimes he rather went 
to the opposite extreme. The first electric traveling crane, we 
are informed, was made at the Sellers plant and installed at 
Midvale, and for a time Taylor opposed it on the ground that 
no one would know how to use it. 

This may illustrate that though the radical and conserva- 
tive were finely balanced in him, he was quite human in the 
sense that his conservatism always was more likely to be mani- 
fested in connection with other men's new ideas than with 
his own. Nevertheless, he did very early form the habit of 
testing his ideas strictly in the light of what would be service- 
able to his employer and to people in general. Hence his 
concentration on the things around him that were in crying 
need of improvement, even if their improvement did not 
require any brilliance or promise any glory. As Barth has 
told us, it became his genius to recognize the importance of 

But just because trifles are important, the attention he gave 
to them often worked out to produce brilliant results. He 
was the first to see that those large lathes which have two or 


more tool-carriages should be so arranged that their carnages 
may be operated independently of one another. And we are 
informed that from this suggestion of his were developed the 
great gun-lathes that the Sellers plant built for the Washing- 
ton Navy Yard. In general his attention to trifles showed 
that even in those early days and at such a progressive es- 
tablishment as Sellers' the art of design was prone to fall 
into ruts. r 

A thing that all the old Midvale hands continue to re- 
member is Taylor's famous chimney, which, starting to climb 
obliquely to the sky, appeared to change its mind when half 
way up and so leaned over in the opposite direction. How 
this came about, Taylor described in his disguised fashion as 

In another establishment [it of course was Midvale] it became 
necessary to add a number of additional furnaces to the melting 
department. The flues leading to the chimney of this department 
were so located that it was very difficult to build a new chimney 
which should have sufficient capacity to run the old plus the new 
furnaces without tearing down the old chimney and locating the 
new one in its place. This would necessarily involve a loss of at 
least one or two months in time. It appeared to be impossible to 
add to the height of the present chimney, because, years before, its 
foundation had sunk unevenly, and the chimney was leaning over so 
far to one side that its centre of gravity was barely within its base. 

There was one young engineer, however, who, realizing the serious- 
ness of a stoppage of two months, proposed to build another chimney 
on top of the first one, leaned back in the other direction, thus bring- 
ing the centre of gravity of the new chimney raised to twice its 
height back over the centre of the foundation. He carried out this 
work without even stopping the furnaces for a day. He raised a false 
sheet iron chimney above where the workmen were building all the 
time, so that they could build the new chimney with the smoke 
continually coming out of the top of the old one.^ 

^ Ibid. 


Other ways in which Taylor manifested his inventive 
faculty at Midvale may be seen in the patents he took out in 
this period} these being for such things as automatic grinders, 
false tables, chucks, forging and tool-feeding mechanisms, 
and boring and turning mills. We understand that all of 
his special tools for the turning and machining of large forg- 
ings were as successful as they were ingenious. 

It seems quite likely [says Gantt] that if Taylor had adhered to 
what was then known as strictly engineering, he would have made 
even a greater reputation than he achieved in the field of manage- 
ment. The work by which he is best known, however, is not what 
was then in those old Midvale days regarded as strictly engineering. 
Strange as it may seem, although much knowledge and thought had 
been devoted to the design of machinery and apparatus, but b'ttle 
study had been given to the possibilities of the men who were to 
operate that machinery. Even to this day many engineers consider 
their work done when they have designed and built and demonstrated 
the possibih'ties of a piece of apparatus. They seem to feel that the 
efficient operation of it is not in their province. Mr. Taylor felt 
otherwise. To him, perfection in design was worthless without 
efficiency in operation, and at an early date he turned his attention 
to the efficient utih'zation of human effort.^ 

^ Address delivered by Gantt in 1915, and published in Frederick Winslow 
Taylor, A Memorial Volume, p. 63. 



It has been remarked, as an imperfection in the art of ship-building, that it can 
never be known, till she is tried, whether a new ship will or will not be a good 
sailer; for that the model of a good-sailing ship has been exactly followed in a 
new one, which has proved, on the contrary, remarkably dull. I apprehend that 
this may partly be occasioned by the different opinions of seamen respecting 
the modes of lading, rigging, and sailing of a ship; each has his system; and 
the same vessel, laden by the judgment and orders of one captain, shall sail 
better or worse than when by the orders of another. Besides, It scarce ever 
happens that a ship is formed, fitted for the sea, and sailed by the same person. 
One man builds the hull, another rigs her, a third lades and sails her. No one 
of these has the advantage of knowing all the ideas and experience of the others, 
and, therefore, cannot draw just conclusions from a combination of the whole. 

Even in the simple operation of sailing when at sea, I have often observed different 
judgments in the officers who commanded the successive watches, the wind 
being the same. One would have the sails trimmed sharper or flatter than 
another, so that they seemed to have no certain rule to govern by. Yet I think 
a set of experiments might be instituted, first, to determine the most proper 
form of the hull for swift sailing; next, the best dimensions and properest place 
for the masts: then the form and quantity of sails, and their position, as the 
wind may be; and, lastly, the disposition of the lading. This is an age of experi- 
ments, and I think a set accurately made and combined would be of great use. 
I am persuaded, therefore, that ere long some ingenious philosopher will under- 
take it, to whom I wish success. 

Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography 



IT was by insensible degrees that his radical work in apply- 
ing the scientific method to management grew out of his 
every-day, homely duties at Midvale. 

In a very real sense it can be said that it all began as he 
came clearly to define his task or problem as foreman. His 
view of it was that he was there to get output. Not, however, 
that he ever was bent on getting output regardless of other 
considerations such as the quality of the work and any strain 
that might be put on men or machinery. That would have 
been the crudeness of a speed maniac, and Taylor was a man of 
intellect. His purpose to get output had its roots in his de- 
sire to make the most economical use of his shop's facilities. 
From the start he was a true engineer in that he was a true 
economist,^ with all the economist's hatred of waste and his 
instinct for conservation. 

He himself came to define the problem of the machine shop 
as that of " removing metal from f orgings and castings in the 
quickest time." " It sounds like the simplest of propositions 
that herein is involved the whole economy of such a shop. 
Yet the evidence is that if, previous to Taylor, machine-shop 
officials had any clear conception of the relation between speed 
and economy, it influenced their actions only sporadically and 

^ This term, of course, is used here in the sense of one who effects sci- 
entific economies, rather than in the sense of one versed in economics or the 
science of political economy, though, for that matter, Taylor had a firm 
grip on at least some of the elementary principles of economics, as must be 
the case with every engineer worthy of the name. 

2 On the Art of Cutting Metals, par. 136. 


As a matter of fact, there are few rarer spectacles than 
that of a person beginning at the beginning by sitting down to 
figure out deliberately and to define clearly the nature of his 
purpose, problem, task or job. But this is in very truth the 
scientific wayj and it may well be held to mark Taylor's 
beginning with the scientific method. Thus he determined 
what he had to do, and could then proceed to analyze the 
"what" into the howj that is, break up his master task into 
the detail tasks necessary for its accomplishment j and it is to 
be observed that no task or problem really can be grasped 
until it is known and studied in detail. 

He found that his master task or problem of getting metal 
out in the quickest time naturally divided itself into two prin- 
cipal sets of detail problems j the one having to do with the 
mechanics of the shop's equipment, and the other with the 
workers' operation of that equipment. 

Now, whenever a start is made with Scientific Management, 
it is in the natural or logical order that mechanical conditions 
be looked into first, since it is obvious that what labor can do all 
depends on the nature and condition of its implements. Par- 
ticular circumstances, however, often prevent things from be- 
ing taken up in their logical order, and this was the case when 
Taylor became a foreman. Of what use for him to study the 
mechanical equipment as long as the men were resolved that 
the output should be so much and no more? Thus, right at 
the outset of his career as an industrial economist he was con- 
fronted by the deeply significant fact (which his fellow engi- 
neers as a class and industrial folk in general were very slow 
in getting a grip on) that as there is no machinery so auto- 
matic that it does not have to be cared for and have its work 
supplied to it by human beings, all other industrial problems 
are swallowed up in the problem of human relations. 

That we may understand his course in setting out to solve 
this problem, we must have some detailed knowledge of what 


had been and were then the common methods o£ dealing 
with labor and of how these entered into the situation at Mid- 
vale — we must see, in fact, just what lay behind the stubborn 
resistance of Taylor's men to the pressure he brought to bear 
on them to get them to stop limiting their output. 

All along management had been striving to get workmen 
to do what is called a good, fair, or full day's work, a thing 
that no one is likely to dispute it is right for them to do — not, 
at all events, when it is stated as an abstract proposition. Cer- 
tainly Taylor never had any doubts in this connection what- 
ever. It was not merely that he saw that it is only as workmen 
give of their best that economic use can be made of the costly 
machinery of modern industry. The spectacle of a man doing 
less than his best was to him morally shocking. He was con- 
cerned for the eflFect of it on the man's own character. He 
enthusiastically believed that to do anything less than your best 
is to add to the sum of the world's unrighteousness. 

Yet there is the fact that even while he resorted to every- 
thing he could think of to get his men to increase their pro- 
duction, he was compelled to sympathize with their resistance. 
As the fight progressed, so he testified, one of his intimate 
friends among the workmen occasionally would inquire of him 
in a " sober, serious " way : " Fred, if you were in my place, 
would you do what you are asking me to do? " And sports- 
man that he was, he always would reply: " Noj if I were in 
your place, I would fight against this as hard as any of you. 
Only if I were you," he would add shrewdly, " I would not 
make a fool of myself. When the time comes that you see I 
am succeeding, I would work up to a proper speed." 

To resolve this rather mixed situation, we first must dis- 
tinguish between what Taylor called natural soldiering and 
what he called systematic, and then see to what systematic 
soldiering is due. 

As he defined it, natural soldiering proceeds from " the 


natural instinct and tendency of men to take it easy," while the 
systematic form proceeds from the workmen's " more intri- 
cate second thought and reasoning caused by their relations 
with other men." ^ 

Of course there are many workmen who are so ambitious 
that they will of their own volition do more than is required 
of them, and so take what Taylor called the " real, quick road 
to success." However, it certainly is true of the great bulk 
of ,us that we are just about as lazy as we dare to bej and 
though there is a school of thought which apparently would 
have it that every workman is a paragon of industry and all 
the other virtues, we may readily believe that, after all, Tay- 
lor was right and working people are just folks. 

In so far as soldiering is due simply to a human tendency 
to take things easy, it can readily be broken up by a forceful 
manager. However lazy a man may be, he usually will con- 
cede, deep down in his heart, that his laziness ought to be 
overcome, if not by himself, then by someone else. Certainly, 
if all Taylor had had to contend with was " natural " soldier- 
ing, he, with his remarkable ability to ginger up the slothful, 
could have wiped it out in short order. But the truth is that, 
long before he entered industry, that other form of soldier- 
ing he called systematic had begun to be widely practiced. 

It would seem that the rudiments of systematic soldiering 
first appeared in the shop and works in consequence of an evil 
that was inherent in the primitive way of dealing with work- 
men which Taylor described as that of " bringing a number of 
men together on similar work and at a uniform rate of pay by 
the day." 

Under this plan the better men gradually but surely slow down 
their gait to that of the poorest and least efficient. When a natu- 
rally energetic man works for a few days beside a lazy one, the logic 

^ Shop Management, p. 30. 


of the situation is unanswerable : " Why should I work hard when 
that lazy fellow gets the same pay that I do and does only half as 
much work? " '^ 

It will be understood that in the philosophy of men like 
Taylor it all along, from the ultimate point of view, had been 
in the interest of workmen collectively and individually to 
do their best. As workmen give of their energy, so ultimately 
there is brought into the world those goods which workmen 
consume j the greater the quantity, the lower the price 5 and 
the lower the price, the greater every workman's real wages. 
This became with Taylor more and more of a vital truth. We 
have seen, again, that his observation was that as a man goes 
ahead and does his individual best he ultimately must receive 
his individual reward in the reaction that his course has on 
his character and in his ability to fire his boss at will and so 
command in wages the utmost value of his skill. But most 
men are not far-sighted enough to see this, and management, 
of course, must take human nature as it is. It, in fact, was 
essentially the weakness of the day-work plan that it required 
too much of human nature. As most men become discouraged 
if they do not get their reward immediately, it was the tend- 
ency under the day-work plan for the output of the slothful 
to become the standard for all. 

But this, as has been suggested, is systematic soldiering 
only in a rudimentary form. What gave systematic soldiering 
its first real start is the belief, which at least in Taylor's time 
was almost universal among workmen, that there is only so 
much work to do in the world, and that therefore if a man does 
more work than he is compelled to do, he will be depriving 
a fellow of work. 

While very serious indeed, systematic soldiering that is 
actuated by this belief is not as serious as might be, since it 
usually involves nothing more than careful refraining from 
1 Ibid.,^. 31. 


doing one's best. Moreover, as the majority of us are influ- 
enced less by altruistic considerations than by those of self- 
interest, soldiering that is motivated solely by a desire to 
" make " or leave open work for others can be maintained 
only where there is a manager not sufficiently interested in 
breaking it up to take more or less strong measures, or where 
joint action by the men is enforced by a union. And this 
brings us to the fact that while trades-unionism began to be- 
come influential in this country in the i86o's, it never was able 
to make much headway in the iron and steel industry during 
Taylor's lifetime. If in 1892, the year of the famous Home- 
stead strike, the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel 
Workers was able to report a membership of about 24,000, 
this was mainly confined to the Pittsburgh district, and the 
Homestead strike resulted so disastrously for the union as to 
give a body blow to unionism throughout the whole industry. 

With his shop an " open " one, we may be entirely sure that 
Taylor would not have had to fight his men for three years if 
they had been resolved on soldiering simply to " make " work. 
What he there was confronted with was a more stubborn and 
far more subtle form of systematic soldiering, one involving 
a regular system of deceit, with the object of keeping the boss 
ignorant of how fast work could be done. 

Strange to say, this highly pernicious form owed its start 
in industry to the introduction of a wage-system representing 
a progressive step. What we refer to is the piece-rate system, 
and more particularly to that which, whatever refinements it 
may have, is based on the old method of estimating, chiefly 
from past performances, how long it should take a skillful 
workman to do a piece of work, and then, with the wages in 
mind that it is customary to pay in the particular locality for 
the grade of labor involved, so figuring the price per piece 
that the workman will just about earn this wage, provided 
he applies himself with industry. 


This old piece-rate system is called a step forward because 
it represented an attempt to get away from treating workmen 
en masse and individualize them. It was designed to be the 
answer to the question that always kept coming up under the 
day-work plan as to why the more energetic and the more effi- 
cient should do more work than the less energetic or efficient. 
It also was an attempt largely to abandon the appeal to the 
motive of fear and substitute for it the appeal to the motive 
of self-interest 3 the idea being that if the men were paid 
so much per piece for the work they turned out, they would 
not have to be driven to do their best, but each would have an 
incentive originating in himself. In the old or " straight " 
piece-rate system at its best we have, in fact, a good example 
of the " management of initiative and incentive." 

However, as a means of inducing men to do their best, 
straight piece-work generally had proved a failure before 
Taylor entered industry. The main reason was that employ- 
ers generally had made it a practice to cut their rates repeat- 
edly, because the rates as set usually enabled the workmen to 
earn wages greatly in excess of what the rates had been de- 
signed to enable them to earn. Under the stimulus of the 
piece-rate, the workmen showed they could turn out work in 
much less time than anyone, judging from their past per- 
formances, would have supposed. Not always was the rate- 
cutting due to the unwillingness of employers to see their men 
earn more than the usual amounts. Though often mean, it 
probably was in the majority of cases unavoidable. 

A rate is set. An energetic worker starts upon the job and in each 
passing year discovers new tricks of the trade, new methods of en- 
larging the output. If the piece-rate remained constant, wages would 
rise to unusual levels. Now the employee undoubtedly deserves 
a reward for improving the methods of his work, but it is questionable 
whether he is entitled to as great a return as an unreduced piece-rate 
would yield him. The improvements are probably simple ones that 


almost anyone could devise, and which a good man ought to be ex- 
pected to make, given the opportunity. Just as the manufacturer 
expects to see the savings due to his own improvements ultimately re- 
flected in reduced prices to the purchasing public, so the piece-worker 
has no inalienable right to enjoy perpetually a given rate. Especially 
would the employer in the above illustration be justified in cutting the 
rate upon giving the job to a new man. For why should a workman 
earn unheard of wages who has done nothing except adopt methods in- 
vented by his predecessor or neighbor? Finally, even the most gen- 
erous-hearted employer would be unable to pay high rates for work 
when his less conscientious competitors are figuring their selling prices 
on a lower basis.'^ 

All these things doubtless had entered into rate-cutting be- 
fore Taylor began his career, and in addition there was the 
fact that cuts often had been enforced if only because a rate 
had been set which enabled some men to receive wages out of 
all proportion to the sums earned in the same plant by men 
doing work requiring equal skill. 

But whether the cutting was avoidable or unavoidable, its 
effect on workmen was equally unfortunate and mischievous. 

Even the most stupid man [wrote Taylor], after receiving two 
or three piece-work " cuts " as a reward for his having worked harder, 
resents this treatment and seeks a remedy for it in the future. Thus 
begins a war, generally an amicable war, but none the less a war, 
between the workmen and the management. The latter endeavors 
by every means to induce the workmen to increase the output, and 
the men gauge the rapidity with which they work, so as never to 
earn over a certain rate of wages, knowing that if they exceed this 
amount the piece-work price will surely be cut, sooner or later. 

But the war is by no means restricted to piece-work. Every intel- 
ligent workman realizes the importance, to his own interest, of 
starting in on each new job as slowly as possible. There are few fore- 
men or superintendents who have anything but a general idea of 
how long it should take to do a piece of work that is new to them. 
^ Scientific Management, by Horace B. Drury, p. 35. 


Therefore, before fixing a piece-work price, they prefer to have the 
job done for the first time by the day. They watch the progress of 
the work as closely as their other duties will permit, and make up 
their minds how quickly it can 5e done. It becomes the workman's 
interest then to go just as slowly as possible, and still convince his 
foreman that he is working well. . . , 

Thus arises a system of hypocrisy and deceit on the part of the men 
which is thoroughly demoralizing, and which has led many workmen 
to regard their employers as their natural enemies, to be opposed in 
whatever they want, believing that whatever is for the interest of 
the management must necessarily be to their detriment.^ 

The sum of it was that the rate-cutting that had been done 
before Taylor entered industry had taught workmen that em- 
ployers fix upon a maximum sum which they feel is right for 
their men to earn, whether they work by the day or the piece, 
and that when an employer is convinced a man can do more 
work than he has done, he sooner or later will find some way 
of compelling the man to do it at the same pay. 

In view of all this, then, we can readily understand why, 
with the straight piece-work system Brinley had established 
at Midvale, the men in the machine shop were enraged when 
Taylor started in to force them to increase their production. 
There is no evidence that any rate-cutting had been done at 
Midvale, but those mechanics were perfectly well aware of 
what was the general practice. 

After he had, in his testimony before the Special House 
Committee, told of how widespread had been the custom of 
cutting piece-rates, Taylor said: 

Under those conditions it would take an exceedingly broad-minded 
man to do anything else than adopt soldiering as his permanent policy. 
I will not say this soldiering is the best policy for the workman to 
adopt, even for his own best interest in the long run, but I do say 
that I do not blame him for doing it. 

^ Paper of 1895, A Piece-Rat e System. 


In his testimony before the Industrial Relations Commission 
he reinforced this by saying of his own habit of soldiering as 
apprentice and mechanic: " I was wrong. It would have 
paid me and the other people [his fellow workmen] to have 
taken our cut and gone right ahead. It is a good deal to ask 
of a human, however — to ask anyone to accept that cut and 
smile over it and think it is a good thing for you." 

It has been said that " good enough is the greatest enemy 
of the best." Probably there was not a man connected with 
the Midvale management who did not know that the work- 
men could, with ease, do more than they were doing, but their 
output was accepted as good enough until Taylor became of 
the management. Actually it was an ugly situation — it al- 
ways is when workmen think it is to their interest to give as 
little as possible and the management is bent on paying no 
more than it can help — and it bespeaks the high value of sin- 
cerity and earnestness that it took these qualities as they were 
embodied in young Taylor to bring this situation out in bold 

He testified that, in consequence of his two or three years of 
fighting with his men, he succeeded, as near as he could re- 
member it, " in doubling the output of the men on the whole." 
But he got no satisfaction out of it. It was during these years 
that he was doing his home study at night, and it would appear 
that in his later life he attributed the weakening of his nervous 
system to his working these long hours. However, there can 
be no doubt that what weakened him was not so much the work 
by itself as the friction that went with it. On the witness 
stand he characterized such fighting as he had done with his 
men as " mean," " contemptible," " despicable," and " hor- 
rible." He felt badly about it, that is certain j in fact, he did a 
deal of worrying over it, and it was this worry, this strain, that 
made him feel in his twenties " like an old man." Moreover, 
his thirst for the best was not slaked 3 though he had doubled 


the output of his men, he was sure it did not yet represent a 
full day's work. 

It is one of the hindrances to harniony in industry that it 
is inevitable that men who rise to and in the management 
should be men who scorn the present and play for the future, 
and that it is more or less inevitable that such men should feel 
contempt or commiseration bordering on it for those who can- 
not see beyond the next pay day. To rise superior to this feel- 
ing calls for real magnanimity. Though the cast-your-bread- 
upon-the-water idea was of the warp and woof of his philoso- 
phy, and he respected no man who was willing to give only so 
much for so much, iaylor did have this magnanimity. Not 
only did he have sufficient bigness of soul to put himself in the 
place of the humblest, but he cultivated it as a faculty j he gave 
his disciples a leaf straight out of his own book when in his 
later years he would enjoin upon them: "Find out what is 
in the men's minds. Look at things through their eyes." 

So it was that he sympathized with his men even while he 
fought with them, and so it was that when he came to analyze 
the cause of such fighting, he was able to go straight to the 
root of the difficulty. 



THIS is the vivacious way he expressed it when testifying 
before the Industrial Relations Commission: 

When I got to be foreman of the shop and had jfinally won out 
and we had an agreement among the men that there would be so 
much work done — not a full day's work, but a pretty good day's 
work — we all came to an understanding and had no further fighting. 
Then I tried to analyze it, and I said: " What has been the matter 
with all this thing? " I Said: "The main trouble with this thing 
is that you have been quarreling because there have been no proper 
standards for a day's work. You do not know what a proper day's 
work is. Those fellows know ten times more than you do, but, 
personally, we do not know anything about what a~ day's work is. 
We make a bluff at it and the other side makes a guess at it and then 
we fight. The great thing is that we do not know what is a proper 
day's work." 

Thoroughly appreciating that his men's motive for soldier- 
ing lay in their fear that an increase in their production would 
be used as a basis for setting new piece-rates, he saw that if 
piece-rates were based, not on their actual performances in 
the shop, but on the facts as revealed by a careful investigation, 
their motive for soldiering would be destroyed. 

Then, again, what he was after was a full day's workj and 
how could he either force it or make it to the interest of his 
men to deliver it until he knew what it was? 

There, in truth, was the nub of the difficulty with the piece- 
rate system as then practiced j not knowing what a worker 



ought to be able to do with his skill plus his mechanical equip- 
ment, management could not with certainty set a rate that, as 
the worker did his best, would not yield him a return out o£ all 
proportion to his skill. 

Really it came down to the common-sense proposition that 
the one best way to get what you want — the way that most 
successfully avoids misunderstanding and quarreling — lies 
through knowing what you want and specifying it. 

So Taylor set out accurately to determine {i.e., on a basis 
of fact) what his men ought to be able to do with their equip- 
ment and materials. As some of our technical friends now 
phrase it, he sought to learn the " content of the workers' 
skill." It was the course that he himself came to describe as 
that of " gathering in on the part of those on the manage- 
ment's side of all the great mass of traditional knowledge 
which in the past has been in the heads of the workmen and in 
the physical skill and knack of the workman," and of " record- 
ing it, tabulating it, and, in many cases, finally reducing it to 
laws, rules, and even to mathematical formulae." ^ 

Here, then, aside from his action in clearly defining his 
master problem as foreman, was his beginning with the scien- 
tific method in connection with management — the beginning 
which, because it was the logical one and his qualities were 
what they were, made it inevitable that he should extend the 
scientific method to all of the elements of management and so 
bring into existence all of the phenomena of Scientific Manage- 
ment or of that coherent and logical whole destined to become 
known as the Taylor System. 

He embarked on this course, not because he had any theory 
he was desirous of trying out, but simply because he was re- 
solved to discharge thoroughly that practical duty of getting 
output which supposedly rests upon every foreman. There 
was no essential difference between his practical problem and 

^ Testimony before Special House Committee. 


that of foremen and superintendents in general. The only dif- 
ference was that he could not be content with any half-way, 
temporary, or compromise solution, but must needs seek a 
complete, permanent, and positive solution, and that he had 
the prescience to realize that such could be reached only on a 
basis of fact. 

Informing all his course was his social instinct. It was this 
instinct that was wounded by his quarrels with his men and 
made him wish to be counted out of any game in which such 
quarreling was necessary. When testifying in 191 2, he said 
with reference to his first steps in developing his system: " My 
whole object was to remove the cause of antagonism between 
the boss and the men who worked under himj to try to make 
both sides friends in the place of tactical enemies." A man 
is not always the best judge of his own motives j he is likely 
to think they are far simpler than they really are; and in 
explaining his course Taylor probably failed to take sufficiently 
into account the promptings in him of the engineer pure and 
simple, of the hater of waste in the abstract. Even so, there 
can be no doubt that it was nothing more or less than his social 
instinct which lent passion to his instinct for economy. It was 
through his social nature, again, that he was inclined to see in 
his own problems and those of his employers the factors that 
were common to industry in general. At the best his men's 
agreement to do a " pretty good day's work " represented 
merely a promise given to him personally by a limited number 
of individuals. There was nothing in the situation pointing to 
an enduring peace. Until workmen gave of their best as a 
matter of every-day practice, attempts to force them to do so 
always would be likely to be made. They themselves could 
not determine what they ought to do 3 upon management must 
rest this burden. 

So far from beginning with any system, he had no idea that 
he was on his way to developing one. Having in mind only 


the project of learning at least as much as his men collectively 
knew about their trade, he thought he could get to the bottom 
of the whole business in about six months! And as he went 
on and on, so to speak, taking the further steps made necessary 
by those he had already taken, he for many a year remained in- 
nocent of any purpose to develop a comprehensive system of 
a particular type. 

Nevertheless, it now is to be recognized that from the mo- 
ment he embarked on his course in seeking the knowledge he 
did, he unconsciously was moving toward the introduction 
into management of a philosophy calling for a revolutionary 
change in the mental attitude then prevailing among man- 
agers, and which continued, if in lessening degree, to prevail 
among them throughout his lifetime. While all along it had 
been held with practical unanimity that the details of labor 
operations were things to be left almost entirely to the judg- 
ment of those who actually did the work or who practiced the 
trade with which the operations were connected, Taylor's ac- 
tion in seeking to find out what his men ought to be able to 
do with their equipment and materials included, as a neces- 
sary consequence, the prescribing of what they should do, or 
the assignment to them of tasks carefully measured in accord- 
ance with the knowledge he developed. 

Of course, if nothing like this thinking of Taylor's ever had 
been known before on land or sea, it would have been eccentric 
and therefore worthless thinking. And this brings us to the 
fact that as an industrial economist, Taylor probably had his 
most striking precursor in Charles Babbage, the British mathe- 
matician and mechanician whose work. The Economy of Ma- 
chinery and Manufacture y published in 1832, we already have 
referred to as having had an early influence in England in 
placing the designing of machinery on a scientific basis. 

In addition to the attention he gave machinery in this work 
of his, Babbage attempted to deduce from manufacturing as 


then practiced the general principles controlling it. He at 
least suggested the extension of specialization beyond manual 
labor to mental — that is, to the work of management — and 
he went on to remark that " in order to succeed in a manu- 
facture, it is necessary not merely to possess good machinery, 
but that the domestic economy of the factory should be most 
carefully regulated." 

More interesting still, Babbage showed that, in 1760, a 
Frenchman had listed the labor operations entering into the 
manufacture of pins, and had recorded with the aid of a watch 
the time which the workmen had taken to perform each of 
these operations while turning out 12,000 pins; the object 
being to determine the cost of the pins in detail. Babbage 
not only printed the Frenchman's table, but got up a similar 
one for English manufacture in his own day. 

Evidently, from considering how machinery should be de- 
signed, Babbage was led on to consider how it should be 
handled. But it does not appear that Babbage's book, as in this 
way it foreshadowed the development of a science of man- 
agement corresponding to a science of mechanical devices, 
had the slightest influence upon industry in his own or in any 
other country. In this particular, he was altogether too far 
in advance of contemporary manufacturing intelligence. 

And here we are confronted by a curious situation: We 
have seen that when Taylor began his industrial career in the 
1870's, machine design in America was generally on an em- 
pirical basis, whereas in England it had made great strides 
along scientific lines. Neglecting, however, to act systemat- 
ically on Babbage's principle that it is not enough to possess 
good machinery, but that the economy of the factory or shop 
should be " most carefully regulated," the English practically 
left off, as far as the scientific method was concerned, with the 
development of these machines by which metal-cutting tools 
are made to do their work. On the other hand, Taylor, start- 


ing in the i88o's, did systematically act on that Babbage prin- 
ciple} and so it was this American who initiated and led the 
work of scientifically studying the speeds at which the ma- 
chines should be run in the shop, thereby bringing about, as 
one feature of his work — and it was a feature that deeply 
wounded the pride of the English — the development of ex- 
cellence, as by shaping and heat treatment, in metal-cutting 
tools themselves. 

While it was left to Taylor to give substance to Babbage's 
ultra-advanced idea of a science of management, it is not to 
be supposed that he ever heard of Babbage when, intent on the 
highest economy of the machine shop, he set out in the i88o's 
to determine what his men ought to be able to do with their 
equipment and materials. Probably the only man from whom 
he received direct inspiration was William Sellers. 

Mention has been made of the fact that Sellers as early as 
1876 attempted to have the cutting tools used in his plant 
issued to the workmen ready ground to shapes and angles 
adopted as standard after some investigating. This may be 
taken as illustrating that all along Taylor had contemporaries 
who approached and grappled with problems of management 
in a truly scientific spirit. However, it also illustrates that the 
work of these other men was unsystematic and confined to a 
single element or only a few of the elements of management} 
so that, as Taylor came to express it, there was " great uneven- 
ness or lack of uniformity shown, even in our best run works, 
in the development of the several elements which together 
constitute what is called the management." ^ 

So successful were some of Taylor's contemporaries in ap- 
plying the scientific method to various details of management 
that, as he went on, Taylor frequently was led to pay their 
work the sincere tribute of borrowing from it. Wherein his 
course was unique was that from the beginning it lay in the 

^ Shof Management, p. 17. 


direction of introducing the scientific method into management 
as a matter of all-around y consistent y every-day cultivation and 
fractice. And this was because he was the only one who started 
at the beginning both in his thinking and in his action j which 
is to say that he was the only one who, seeing that it is the 
task of management to bring about the most economical use 
of labor and equipment entering into production, and seeing 
also that to fulfill this task the management must determine 
what the output of the labor aided by the equipment should be, 
resolutely set out to do this and stuck to it. 

The record indeed shows that many thinkers besides Taylor 
saw clearly how advantageous it would be for management to 
determine possible output. It was widely recognized that 
management's lack of knowledge in this connection was at the 
bottom of the chronic troubles with piece-work plans. But 
what the record also shows is that the best minds up to this 
time had all come to the conclusion that for the management 
to determine possible output was impossible. We shall see, 
in fact, that several years after Taylor had set out to do this 
very thing, but before he was ready to tell anything of his 
work, the leading papers dealing with management read before 
the American Society of Mechanical Engineers all were based 
on this supposed impossibility, and offered compromise wage- 
payment plans designed to minimize the evils that were inev- 
itable in the absence of such knowledge. 

To tell Taylor that anything was impossible was just about 
the one best way to stimulate him to go after it. And this was 
the case when, asking William Sellers for permission to spend 
some money for experiments designed to reveal what his men 
ought to be able to do with their machines, he was told that the 
thing had been tried before and could not be done. If Sellers 
at length consented, it was mainly because he felt that Taylor 
was entitled to some reward for having already got his men 
to increase their production. 


THESE experiments, Taylor told the Special House 
Committee, were started along a variety of lines. 
One line was that which has come to be generally 
known as " motion study " or " time study." Telling how a 
young man was equipped for this study with a stop watch and 
ruled and printed blanks, Taylor continued: 

This man for two years and a half, I think, spent his entire time in 
analyzing the motions of the workmen in the machine shop in rela- 
tion to all the machine work going on in the shop — all the opera- 
tions, for example, which were performed while putting work into 
and taking work out from the machines were analyzed and timed. 
I refer to the details of all such motions as are repeated over and 
over again in machine shops. I dare say you gentlemen realize that 
while the actual work done in the machine shops of this country is 
infinite in its variety, and that while there are millions and mil- 
lions of different operations that take place, yet these millions of 
complicated or composite operations can be analyzed intelligently and 
readily resolved into a comparatively small number of simple ele- 
mentary operations, each of which is repeated over and over again 
in every machine shop. As a sample of these elementary operations 
which occur in all machine shops, I would cite picking up a bolt and 
clamp and putting the bolt head into the slot of a machine, then 
placing a distance piece under the back end of the clamp and tight- 
ening down the bolt. Now, this is one of the series of simple opera- 
tions that take place in every machine shop hundreds of times a day. 
It is clear that a series of motions such as this can be analyzed, and 
the best method of making each of these motions can be found out, 
and then a time study can be made to determine the exact time which 



a man should take for each job when he does his work right, without 
any hurry and yet who does not waste time. This was the general line 
of one of the investigations which we started at that time. 

At the same time, another series of investigations was started 
which I shall describe later, and which resulted in developing the 
art or science of cutting metals. 

Before starting to describe these experiments, however, I want 
to make it clear to you that these scientific experiments, namely, accu- 
rate motion and time study of men and a study of the art of cutting 
metals,^ which were undertaken to give the foreman of the machine 
shop of the Midvale Steel Works knowledge which was greatly needed 
by him, in order to prevent soldiering and the strife which goes with 
it, marked the first steps which were taken in the evolution of what 
is called scientific management. These steps were taken in an earnest 
endeavor to correct what I look upon as one of the crying evils 
of the older systems of management. And I think that I may say 
that every subsequent step which was taken and which has resulted in 
the development of scientific management was in the same way 
taken, not as the result of some preconceived theory by any one man or 
any number of men, but in an equally earnest endeavor to correct 
some of the perfectly evident and serious errors of the older type of 

The question as to the extent to which time and motion 
study was original with Taylor often was raised in his life- 
time. His own attitude in this connection was made plain 
when, in 191 2, the Sub-Committee on Administration of the 
A.S.M.E.^ dealt with time study in its majority report on 
" The Present State of the Art of Industrial Management." 

To begin with, this committee formulated a basic principle, 
that of " transference of skill," for all modern industry. By 

^ It will be seen that these two types of experiments correspond to the 
two principal sets of detail problems into which his master problem of getting 
metal cut in the quickest time had divided itself; the one set having to do 
with the mechanical equipment, and the other with the workers' use of that 

2 Hereinafter the American Society of Mechanical Engineers will be so 


the phrase quoted it apparently meant, first, such a process as 
takes place when skill to do work is put into a piece of mechan- 
ism, and, second, such a process as takes place when best 
methods of operating machines, handling materials, and so on, 
are determined in advance by the management and the work- 
man acts in accordance with this predetermination. While 
making no specific mention of Taylor's work, the committee 
referred to what Adam Smith in his Wealth of Nations (1776) 
had written about the listing of operations entering into the 
manufacture of pins, quoted from Charles Babbage's Economy 
of Machinery and Manufacture^ and reprinted in the appendix 
to its report the tables Babbage had presented as those used in 
France in the eighteenth century and later, on in England in 
connection with the recording and timing of pin-manufacture 

From the paper Taylor contributed to the discussion of this 
A.S.M.E. report we shall quote at length, not only because 
of its interest in connection with the question of the origin 
of time study, but also because Taylor here made his most 
careful attempt to define the nature of this thing which had 
been so generally misunderstood. 

The historical portion of the report [wrote Taylor] shows careful 
study, and is evidently the result of much research. In certain par- 
ticulars, however, it is somewhat misleading; that portion of it, at 
least, which includes the quotations from Adam Smith, etc., and par- 
ticularly tables I and 2, given in the Appendix. 

Although the fact is not specifically stated, still the general im- 
pression from reading this part of the report is that " time study," 
which is the foundation for " the transference of skill from the 
management to the men," was practically carried on in 1760 and 
in 1830, as it is now under scientific management. This is, however, 
far from the truth, and in the interest of historical accuracy it may 
be desirable to make a statement as to the beginnmg of " time study," 
although I realize that questions as to who started time study, and 


when it was started, are of very little consequence, the impor- 
tant questions being, what is time study? and, how shall we make it 
more useful? 

Time study was begun in the machine shop of the Midvale Steel 
Company in, 1881, and was used during the next two years suffi- 
ciently to prove its success. In 1883, Mr. Emlen Hare Miller was 
employed to devote his whole time to " time study," and he worked 
steadily at this job for two years, using blanks similar to that shown 
in Par. 367 of " Shop Management." He was the first man to 
make " time study " his profession. 

It is true that the form of Tables i and 2, given in the Appendix 
to the Committee's report, is similar to that of the blanks recording 
time study, but here the resemblance ceases. Each line in Table 2, 
for instance, gives statistics regarding the average of the entire work 
of an operative who works day in and day out, in running a ma- 
chine engaged in the manufacture of pins. This table involves no 
study whatever of the movements of a man, nor of the time in which 
his movements should have been made. Mere statistics as to the time 
which a man takes to do a given piece of work do not constitute 
" time study." " Time study," as its name implies, involves a careful 
study of the time in which work ought to be done. In but very 
few cases is it the time in which the work actually was done. 

Previous to the development of " time study " in the Midvale 
Steel Works, there had in all probability been many instances in 
which men have carefully studied and analyzed the movements of 
other men, and have timed them with watches. (No such instances 
have, however, come to my personal attention.) Any such former 
work was without doubt confined to isolated cases, and was of short 
duration; and (most important from the historical point of view) 
it did not lead to the development of a new trade, or, more properly, 
to a mew scientific occupation, " the profession of time study." 

Any former eflForts of this kind would bear the same general re- 
lation to the time study done in the Midvale Steel Works that the 
many early attempts at flying bear to the work of the Wright brothers. 
The Wright brothers started " man flying." The Midvale Steel 
Works started the " profession of time study." (I do not of course 
intimate that the two developments are of equal importance.) 


Time study is the one element in scientific management beyond all 
others making possible the " transfer of skill from management to 
men." The nature of time study, however, is but imperfectly under- 
stood, and it is therefore important to define it clearly. " Time 
study " consists of two broad divisions, first, analytical work, and 
second, constructive work. 

The analytical work of time study is as follows: 

a Divide the work of a man performing any job into simple 

elementary movements. 
b Pick out all useless movements and discard them. 
c Study, one after another, just how each of several skilled 
workmen makes each elementary movement, and with the 
aid of a stop watch select the quickest and best method of 
making each elementary movement known in the trade. 
d Describe, record and index each elementary movement, with 

its proper time, so that it can be quickly found. 
e Study and record the percentage which must be added to the 
actual working time of a good workman to cover unavoidable 
delays, interruptions, and minor accidents, etc. 
/ Study and record the percentage which must be added to cover 
the newness of a good workmen to a job, the first few times 
that he does it. (This percentage is quite large on jobs made 
up of a large number of different elements composing a long 
sequence infrequently repeated. This factor grows smaller, 
however, as the work consists of a smaller number of differ- 
ent elements in a sequence that is more frequently repeated.) 
g Study and record the percentage of time that must be allowed 
for rest, and the intervals at which the rest must be taken, 
in order to offset physical fatigue. 
The constructive work of time study is as follows: 

h Add together into various groups such combinations of ele- 
mentary movements as are frequently used in the same se- 
quence in the trade, and record and index these groups so that 
they can be readily found. 
;■ From these several records, it is comparatively easy to select 
the proper series of motions which should be used by a work- 
man in making any particular article, and by summing the 


times of these movements, and adding proper percentage al- 
lowances, to find the proper time for doing almost any class 
of work. 
;■ The analysis of a piece of work into its elements almost 
always reveals the fact that many of the conditions surround- 
ing and accompanying the work are defective; for instance, 
that improper tools are used, that the machines used in con- 
nection with it need perfecting, that the sanitary conditions 
are bad, etc. And knowledge so obtained leads frequently to 
constructive work of a high order, to the standardization of 
tools and conditions, to the invention of superior methods and 
It is unusual to make a study such as this of the elementary move- 
ments of the workmen in a trade. The instances in which this has 
been done are still rare. Most of the men who have made what they 
call " time study " have been contented with getting the gross time 
of a whole cycle of operations necessary to do a particular piece of 
work, and at best they have thrown out the time when the workman 
was idle, or evidently purposely going slow. 

Taylor's correspondence reveals that when he stated in the 
foregoing paper that time study was begun at Midvale in 1881, 
and that Emlen Hare Miller was employed in 1883 to devote 
his whole time to it, these dates were fixed from his memory, 
which we know was usually poor. However, as he went to 
Midvale in 1878, became a boss in the machine shop late in 
that year or early in 1879, and quarreled with his men " two 
or three years " before he resolved to acquire exact knowledge 
of what was a full day's work for them, the probabilities are 
that his dates are approximately correct j and to this confirma- 
tion is lent by the fact that he stated that his time-study and 
metal-cutting investigations were started at or about the same 
time, and in his paper On the Art of Cutting Metals we find 
it printed (page 37) that the first of his metal-cutting dis- 
coveries were made in 1 8 8 1 . 

At the same time, it is to be considered that, on the basis 


that " mere statistics as to the time which a man takes to do a 
given piece of work do not constitute time study," it hardly 
would be possible for anyone to fix an exact date for the be- 
ginning of true time study. This because the thing did not 
spring full panoplied from Taylor's brain, but, as was typical 
of his revolutionary work in general, was a gradual develop- 
ment from a humble beginning, the manner of it being as 

The work of his shop principally was that of machining 
locomotive tires and car axles, and was repetitive. There was, 
however, some miscellaneous workj and when the drawing 
was ready for a new job and an attempt was made to figure its 
cost, the question arose as to what material would be needed 
and how long the work would take. Always a fairly accurate 
estimate could be made as to the material, but when the fore- 
man was called in to settle the time question, all he had to 
guide him at the best were such records as he might have of 
the total time it had taken to do former jobs of a more or less 
similar nature j and it is plain that estimates based on such 
statistics represented guess work almost pure and simple. In- 
cidentally it was by such guessing also that the foreman right 
along had set for the workmen a piece-rate in connection with 
the new job. 

Now, few things could have been more abhorrent to Taylor 
than this guessing 3 moreover, it eventually " occurred " to 
him that " it was simpler to time with a stop-watch each of 
the elements of the various kinds of work done in the place, 
and then find the quickest time in which each job could be 
done by summing up the total times of its component parts, 
than it was to search through the time records of former jobs 
and guess at the proper time and price." ^ 

From this it is clear that at the start he had for his object 
only the improvement of the statistics which long had been 

^ Shof Management, p. 148. 


used in his shop, and there can be no doubt that for a period 
he attempted only to record such times as actually were taken. 
Even here, however, his timing was greatly different from 
that mentioned by Babbage as having been done in France in 
1760. The French observer, one Perronet, simply listed the 
various processes entering into pin manufacturing (such as 
straightening and cutting the wire, pointing the pins, and head- 
ing the pins), and his timing was confined to recording the 
gross time it took the workmen to complete each of these 
divisions of the work, on the basis of lots of 1 2,000 pins. And 
when Babbage, seventy years later, got up a new table for 
English manufactures, he also contented himself with record- 
ing these gross times. On the other hand, it will be seen that 
from the very beginning Taylor was concerned with timing 
the elementary motions of which individual labor operations 
consist j which is to say that his work from the beginning lay 
along the lines of what these days is called job analysis, or 
the splitting up of jobs into their component parts. 

Back of it all was his observation that, no matter how much 
the jobs coming into his shop might vary, they represented 
but different combinations of the same elemental motions. If 
this fact ever had been observed before, it does not appear 
that it was deliberated upon and its significance thus grasped, 
and in such case the observation was not a real one. What can 
be affirmed with positiveness is that Taylor was the first to 
act on this fact 5 that is, really act on it in the sense of pushing 
the thing through to its logical conclusion. 

It will be recalled that when he was at Phillips Exeter, 
he was profoundly impressed by his observation of the way 
his professor of mathematics, " Bull " Wentworth, had timed 
the work of the students in solving various problems, and so 
was able to give out standard lessons in the sense that he knew 
how much time the average boy would take to do them. All 
the indications are that to the extent Taylor was indebted to 





3-Steel Co. 



achine Shop. 

Estimates for Work on Lathes. 



Putting chain on. Work on Floor. 

" Work on Centres, 
Taking oH chain. Work on Floor. 

Work on Centres, 
Putting on Carrier. 
Taking off " 
Lifting Work to Shears, 
Getting Work on Centres. 
Lifting Work trom Centres to Floor, 
Turning Work, end for end. 
Adjusting Soda Water, 
Trying Trueness with Chalk, 
with Callipers 
" with Gauge, 
Putting in Mandrel, 


ting I 


Taking out 

Putting in False Centre 

Taking out 

Putting on Spiders. 

Taking off 

Putting on Follow Resi 


Face h 

Taking off 
Putting on Chuck. 
Taking off " 

Laying out, 

Changing Toots. 

Putting in Packing, 

Cut to Cut. 

Learning what is to be done. 

Considering how to Clamp. 

Oiling up, 
Cleaning Machine, 
Changing Time Notes, 
Changing Tools at Tool Roo 
Shitting Work, 


Sketch. Number. 
Order. Weight, 
Metal, Heat No. 
Tensile Strength. Chem. Co 
Per Cent, of Stretch 



Turning Feed In, 

Hand Feed. 
Boring Feed In, 

" Hand Feed, 
Starling Cut, 
Finishing Cut, 




Using Emery Cloth, 


Machining— Two Heads Used, 

-One Head Used, 
Hand Work, 
Additional Allowance, 



Showing the division of an operation into unit elements, and the estimating of the 

total operation time from unit element times; also the recording of the proper feed, 

speed, cut and tool. Midvale, 1887 


anyone else for the general idea of timing work, his indebted- 
ness was not to anyone in industry, but, curiously enough, to 
his old professor of mathematics solely. 

At first he did his listing and timing of motions in person, 
and in connection with the regular work of the shop while the 
workmen did not know they were being observed. It is prob- 
able, in fact, that he began to use a stop-watch in secret while 
yet he was struggling to force his men to increase their pro- 
duction. It is safe to say also that his first observations were 
not very elemental but became more and more so. 

Before long he established what one of his associates calls 
the " unalterable rule that all time study for rate setting must 
be done not merely with the knowledge but with the co- 
operation of the worker." As a matter of fact, Taylor's secret 
use of his watch was fairly feasible only as long as his object 
remained simply that of improving the statistics long used in 
the shop in connection with setting piece-rates for and figur- 
ing the labor costs of new jobs. 

How he was led from the mere betterment of these statis- 
tics into true time study with all its constructive as well as 
analytical features, is easy to see. As he listed the motions 
made by his men, he could not well have failed, his mentality 
being what it was, to observe them critically — to question 
whether they could not be made more deftly and whether they 
were all necessary. Take any particular motion. If he had 
not been there with his watch, he would not have been likely 
to give it a thought j but as he watched the second hand of his 
watch go around while the worker went through that motion, 
that motion loomed uf. All of which is to say that the very 
process of recording in detail the time taken to do work in- 
evitably brings up the question as to whether it is done ej- 
jiciently; that is, whether the same result should not be ob- 
tained with less effort, or more result obtained with the same 


Obviously such a question can be determined only by ex- 
periment j and as Taylor began the experiments which had for 
their prime object the discovery of false or unnecessary mo- 
tions he naturally had to select men for the experiments and 
fully inform them as to the part they would be called upon 
to play — certainly in the case of all time study j as distin- 
guished from mere time recording, secrecy is impossible/ It 
seems, indeed, that Taylor, when asking permission from 
his " Uncle William " Sellers to do some experimenting, dis- 
creetly mentioned only those of the machine or metal-cutting 
type, and that for a considerable period Sellers was unaware 
of the time study. In this event, however, Sellers probably 
was the only one connected with Midvale who did not know 
of the time study when it first really began, and this " blissful 
ignorance " in his case was made possible by the fact that he 
came to Midvale but rarely. 

It is certain that in inaugurating his time study Taylor did 
not have the sympathy of a single soul inside or outside of those 
works. His most intimate friends just sat back and wondered. 
Says one of those friends, Theophilus B. Stork: 

I can well remember when, at the Midvale Steel Works, he began 
what seemed to us all at the time a hopeless and useless undertaking, 
the ascertaining exactly how long it took a workman to do a given 
piece of work. Imagine a young cadet of industry, a student just out 
of the technical school, with a stop watch and a huge diagram before 
him, stationed by Taylor opposite a workman to note minute by 
minute, aye, almost second by second, each and every movement. 

^ As he reached this stage, Taylor of course studied each labor operation 
repeatedly before fixing a standard time for it. While doing this he must 
have found, as time-study men do today, that the worker frequently took dif- 
ferent times to make the same motion or perform one of the units to which 
the operation had been reduced, and for this very reason had his critical 
attention drawn to that motion or unit. Since it always must impress the 
observer that there must be a reason why a man takes different times to do 
the same thing, the most skilful or deft way is indeed most likely to be 
discovered through the contrasting times of the same unit of an operation as 
these are presented in a number of studies of that operation. 


Now he takes up a tool; click goes the stop watch, and down on the 
prepared diagram goes the number of seconds that are required for 
the movement; and so on, day after day, month after month, until 
stacks of these diagrams of the time required for the workman to do 
the simplest act were collected. No wonder many thought the whole 
work fanciful and its cost of thousands of dollars thrown away. 

It was not that there were lacking at Midvale men who ap- 
preciated the general idea that if you could find out how long 
it should take to do a job, you would save endless disputes j 
but it was thought that in making his minute studies and de- 
veloping his elaborate records, Taylor again was carrying 
things to a " crazy " extreme. 

To us now there clearly appears in his time study his genius 
for recognizing that trifles make perfection, or his genius for 
detail. Such we call itj but in his own philosophy, it was a 
manifestation, not of genius, but of will. He was likely to be 
impatient with men who said they had no head for details 5 
he could not help but feel that they simply were too lazy to 
bother with them. 

It would seem that throughout his lifetime it was hard for 
people both in and out of industry to understand that, regard- 
less of the variety of work done in a shop, the great majority 
of movements there made are made over and over again, 
and that when once these movements are standardized, they 
require no further analysis or timing. Moreover, the whole 
nature and technic of time study was deliberately and mali- 
ciously misrepresented by Taylor's foes. We again quote 
from the testimony taken by the Special House Committee: 

Mr. Redfield. The statement has been made that it is un-American 
and an indignity for a workman to submit to time study with a stop 
watch; that it is annoying and makes a man nervous and irritable. 
To what extent have you any knowledge as to what extent that is 
true or not? 

Mr. Taylor. Mr. Redfield, I think that the average workman. 


if any man came to him with a stop watch without any previous ex- 
planation or understanding and began timing every motion and 
writing down what he was doing, would become nervous and would be 
irritated by it. ... I am very sure that I should be nervous to a 
greater or less extent if anyone were timing every one of my motions. 
I would feel that it was a darn mean job while the thing was going 
on. But, Mr. Redfield, I wish to call your attention to one fact, 
which is not at all appreciated: Somehow there has come to be an im- 
pression in the minds of people who speak and think of scientific 
management in its relation to time study, that for every workman 
who is working in the shop there are probably four or five men stand- 
ing over him year in and year out with stop watches. Let me tell you 
that in some of our shops there are many workmen who, in the whole 
course of their lives, never have a stop watch held on them. And 
that probably the average man would not be timed for more than one 
day in his lifetime. So that probably one day of the workman's life 
would sum up the total of this terrible nerve-racking strain which 
several of the men who have testified before your committee have 
complained of. Therefore, if any man objects to time study, the 
real objection is not that it makes him nervous. His real objection 
is that he does not want his employer to know how long it takes him 
to do his job. 

It would appear also that some people think that when you 
speak of the scientific, you necessarily are referring to some- 
thing of hair-line accuracy. Thus when it was brought out in 
investigations of the workings of time study that, in recording 
such things as the " percentage which must be added to the 
actual working time of a good workman to cover unavoidable 
delays," one must depend largely on common sense, there 
were not lacking those who declared that that showed up the 
whole thing as unscientific. Taylor, of course, never dreamed 
of asserting that there was anything exact about time study in 
the sense that the sciences of mathematics and music are exact. 
" The whole subject of time study," he told the Special House 
Committee, " is only an approximation. There is nothing 


positively accurate about time study from end to end. All 
we hope to do through time study is to get a vastly closer 
approximation as to time than we ever had before." ^ 

Somewhere along about 1 8 8 1 it clearly was presented to him 
that his problem of getting metal cut in the quickest time in- 
volved studying both what his men could do and what the 
machines could do. Hence his two types of experiments j and 
it is highly probable, by the way, that his machine experiments, 
or those which constituted a " study of the art of cutting 
metals," were to a large extent inspired by what he observed 
while developing " accurate motion and time study of men." 
Say, for example, you are timing the motions made by a man 
in lifting a piece of steel to a planer table, in setting it level 
and true on the table, and in putting on the stops and bolts. 
Now he starts the planer, and as it works he, occasionally mak- 
ing adjustments, stands waiting for the machine to finish. 
Doesn't he wait too long? Can^t the machine run faster^ Has 
the cutting tool been ground to just the right angle? Such 
questions, at all events, must have occurred to one like Taylor. 

As in the case of all men of great achievement, he accumu- 
lated his detractors j and one of their ways of attempting to 
belittle him was by saying that he was a man merely of the 
machine shop. If they had said mainly y their statement might 
have been true. This aside, Taylor's friends had justification 
for believing that if his first and great principle of reducing 
all work to a science could be applied in a machine shop doing 
any miscellaneous work, it could be applied to anything. " The 
development of a science," Taylor himself said, " sounds like 
a formidable undertaking, and, in fact, anything like a thor- 
ough study of a science such as that of cutting metals necessa- 
rily involves many years of work. The science of cutting 
metals, however, represents in its complication, and in the time 

^ As in the case of other features of Taylor's work, the technic of time 
study has gone on developing, and this improvement, of course, has been in 
the general direction of getting results more nearly accurate. 


required to develop it, almost an extreme case in the mechanic 
arts." ' 

Nowadays, thanks to Taylor's investigation, the quickest 
machine or actual cutting time can be readily calculated. In 
the early i88o's practically the whole art of cutting metals 
was left to the individual judgment of workmen and foremen, 
and thus it necessarily had no basis other than rule of thumb 
or empiricism. In raising it to an art resting on scientific prin- 
ciples Taylor had to work from the bottom up, and here in- 
deed was an herculean task. 

^ Testimony before Special House Committee. 



NATURALLY he could not foresee what was in- 
volved in his course. If he could have had this 
knowledge, it is improbable that even such a stout- 
hearted young man as he would have embarked upon it so 
blithely. Surely Providence has a cunning little way of lead- 
ing us on! We say that there is the goalj but when we get 
there, we find it has receded to a point we never would have 
attempted to reach from our original starting point, and so 
it continues. 

The first thing we wanted to do [Taylor said] was to settle the 
question which every mechanic had supposed was the essence of the 
whole matter, and that was, what was the proper angle for tools, 
what was the proper clearance angle, what was the proper side slope, 
and what was the proper back slope.^ 

It is not strange that Sellers was reluctant to consent to these 
experiments. In attempting many years before to adopt for 
his own machine-building plant standard shapes and angles 
representing compromises on those used by the most experi- 
enced machinists, he had taken a step away from the old phi- 
losophy of leaving all the small details of the shop to the 
judgment of the workmen j but it was only a tentative step, 
and while it was away from the old, it hardly was a step to- 

^ Testimony before Industrial Relations Commission. An uncorrected re- 
port of this testimony is printed in Industrial Relations, Vol. I, Government 
Printing Office, 1916. 



wards the new philosophy that all the small details should be 
subjected to scientific investigation. 

It is probable that in at length consenting to Taylor's ex- 
periments, Sellers was influenced, not only by the considera- 
tion that his young Midvale foreman was entitled to some 
reward for already having increased the production of the 
machine shop, but also by the well-nigh matchless Taylor en- 
thusiasm. Be that as it may, it is extremely unlikely that there 
was then in industry another chief executive who would have 
given young Taylor any encouragement at all. 

In all good faith Taylor represented to Sellers that in the 
determination of those angles lay the essence of the whole 
problem as to the speed at which cutting tools could be run, 
and he was sure he could get to the bottom of the thing in six 
months. " If," said, Taylor, " it had been understood that 
the experiments would take longer than six months, permis- 
sion to make them never would have been granted." 

For more reasons than one he was lucky to be at Midvale. 

We happened to have [he said] a great pile of uniform metal to 
work on. We had 2,000 tons of locomotive tires — plenty of them 
in the scrap heap. That was metal of a uniform type. So we had 
plenty of splendid metal to work on, and we had the only machine 
in Philadelphia on which we could make those experiments. So we 
started men to work right along and varied the cutting angles, and 
kept a record of what we did.^ 

And this is what happened: 

For six months those experiments went on, and at the end of that 
time we had arrived at the extraordinary fact that it did not make 
much if any difference what those cutting angles were as far as 
speed went. We got only negative results. 

To be sure, the experiments proved that . the angles of 
cutting tools have an important effect on their ability to stand 

1 Ibii. 


up under use without breakings nevertheless, Taylor had to 
confess that, as far as the main object of the experiments was 
concerned, they had failed. 

At this intelligence, so Taylor testified. Sellers laughed 
mockingly, and said: " That shows up the whole thing. There 
is a lot of money thrown into the fire." But our young experi- 
menter was nothing daunted. " That's all right, Mr. Sellers," 
he rejoined, " but let me show you that we have uncovered a 
gold mine of information. We have got to the top of a gold 
mine, and I want to show you what it is." Again the irre- 
sistible enthusiasm. 

When [said Taylor] I was able to show Mr. Sellers the informa- 
tion we had already got, and that we were on the track of getting, 
which would enable our men to do faster and better work, he said: 
" Go right ahead and spend that money." 

His own personal friends repeatedly warned him that he 
was attempting the impossible j and if, apart from Sellers, 
everyone at Midvale, so far from having any sympathy with 
his experiments, was actively opposed to them, it was not with- 
out reason. 

Mr, Sellers, in spite of the protests which were made against the 
continuation of the work, allowed the experiments to proceed; even, 
at first, at a very considerable inconvenience and loss to the shop. 
The extent of this inconvenfence will be appreciated when it is under- 
stood that we were using a 66-inch diameter vertical boring mill, 
belt driven by the usual cone pulleys, and that in order to regulate the 
exact cutting speed of the tool, it was necessary to slow down the 
speed of the engine that drove all the shafting in the shop; a special 
adjustable engine governor having been bought for this purpose. For 
over two years the whole shop was inconvenienced in this way, by 
having the speed of its main line of shafting greatly varied, not 
only from day to day, but from hour to hour.^ 

^ On the Art of Cutting Metals, p. 34. , 


It was not long before the experiments began to pay for 
themselves by yielding practical results of immediate value. 
This may seem to exemplify the habit of fortune in smiling 
upon the brave j but as a matter of fact it is readily explicable 
on the basis that, no matter what the field in which a scientific 
investigatioji is made, it almost invariably will show that, as 
Gantt put it, " the usual way of doing a thing is the wrong 

The first laws developed for cutting metals were crude and con- 
tained only a partial knowledge of the truth, yet this imperfect knowl- 
edge was vastly better than the utter lack of information or the very 
imperfect rule of thumb which existed before, and it enabled the 
workmen, with the help of the management, to do far quicker and 
better work.^ 

This meant that, very early in his experimental cutting up 
of metal into chips, Taylor proved the unsoundness of the 
philosophy of leaving workmen to select their own methods 
with such help as they can get from their foreman. Even if, 
as Taylor pointed out, workmen had an education which gave 
them the " habit of generalizing, of everywhere looking for 
laws," they " lack the time and the opportunity for develop- 
ing these laws." Moreover, when workmen are left to devise 
their own methods, they must always be handicapped by being 
obliged to use such tools and machines as the management 
provides. It is to be considered also that workmen form the 
largest element in the mass of humanity, and that the mass 
does not look ahead, has little or no concern for progress, and 
represents, save when stirred to action by some exceptional 
man, a great inertia or resistance to change. 

After many years of close personal contact with our mechanics 
[wrote Taylor], I have great confidence in their good judgment and 
common sense in the long run, and I am proud to number many of 
^ Testimony before Special House Committee. 


them among my most intimate friends. As a class, however, they 
are extremely conservative, and if left to themselves their progress 
from the older toward better methods will be exceedingly slow.^ 

At the same time, Taylor was far from failing to recog- 
nize how often the characteristic inertia of the mass is also 
found in the management. He had too many sad experiences 
with managers to escape this recognition. It was his mature 
judgment that the philosophy of " initiative and incentive " 
was, in the main, the lazy manager's philosophy j the manage- 
ment could talk all it pleased about the workmen being sup- 
posed to be expert in their trade, but the real reason for putting 
the details up to the workmen was likely to be that the manage- 
ment was disinclined to assume the duties, burdens and re- 
sponsibilities that naturally belonged to it. 

The most important discovery of immediate value that 
Taylor made in the early stage of his experiments was that 
" a heavy stream of water poured directly upon the chip at the 
point where it is being removed from the steel forging by 
the tool would permit an increase in cutting speed, and there- 
fore in the amount of work done, of from thirty to forty per 
cent." When, all lit up with enthusiasm, he went to Sellers 
with this discovery, he found his " Uncle William " incredu- 
lous. " It was pretty hard to make him believe that truth." 
However, Sellers at length said: " How can we get that 
water to our machines? " And Taylor replied: "Well, we 
can't do it in our present shop." 

This was in 1883. Probably the building of a new shop 
already had been projected, but apparently the discovery 
about the water proved to be the determining factor. At all 
events, in the latter part of 1883, Taylor was authorized to 
design and build a n^w shopj and this unfolded for him sev- 
eral new and very important opportunities in connection, not 

^ On the Art of Cutting Metals, p. 53. 


only with his experiments, but also, as will appear later, with 
the development of his general system. 

We read that in the new shop, which was opened in 1884, 
each machine was " set in a wrought iron pan in which was 
collected the water (supersaturated with carbonate of soda to 
prevent rusting) which was thrown in a heavy stream upon the 
tool for the purpose of cooling it. The water from each of 
these pans was carried through suitable drain pipes beneath the 
floor to a central well from which it was pumped to an over- 
head tank from which a system of supply pipes led to each 
machine." And Taylor added : " Up to that time, so far as 
the writer knows, the use of water for cooling tools was con- 
fined to small cans or tanks from which only a minute stream 
was allowed to trickle upon the tool and the work, more for 
the purpose of obtaining a water finish on the work than with 
the object of cooling the toolj and, in fact, these small streams 
of water are utterly inadequate for the latter purpose." ^ 

When the French scholar Le Chatelier came to read On the 
Art of Cutting Metals ^ he referred to the discovery about 
the value of keeping the nose of a tool wet as one of the simple 
but highly important facts stated by Taylor which were " so 
easily verified that one is justified in being astonished that 
they are not known to everybody." But, as bearing on the 
inertia of management, here is this further quotation from 
Taylor's paper: " So far as the writer knows, in spite of the 
fact that the shops of the Midvale Steel Works until recently 
[1906] have been open to the public since 1884, ^o other 
shop was similarly fitted up [with water supply for the ma- 
chines] until that of the Bethlehem Steel Company in 1899, 
with the exception of a small steel works which was an off- 
shoot in personnel from the Midvale Steel Company." In 
the address he made in Cleveland just before his death, he 
said: "Gentlemen, think of it! only one machine shop in 

^ Ih'ti.^ p. 37. 


twenty years followed that, namely, the practice of pouring 
water on tools. It was explained to manufacturers, but the 
average man said, ' Oh, hell, what's the use.' There is the 

One of the other great opportunities which the building of 
the new shop gave him was that of beginning the experiments 
with belting that, extending over a period of nine years, fur- 
nished him with material for a paper which, presented to the 
A.S.M.E. in 1893, drew from Henry R. Towne, who himself 
had experimented with belting, this comment: 

The present paper is modestly entitled " Notes on Belting," but 
could be more fittingly described as a treatise on the practical use of 
belts. Its thirty-four pages contain more new and useful informa- 
tion than is found in any other paper that has come to my knowledge. 

In this paper Taylor said that while working as foreman he 
" became convinced that the belts, which were laced according 
to the ordinary rules, were a great source of loss to the com- 
pany — not so much from the cost of the belting and the 
labor of lacing as from the incidental delays to the machines 
and the diminished output of the shop resulting therefrom." 
However, what directly led to his undertaking his belting ex- 
periments was the trouble he had in maintaining the tension 
of the belt used in driving the boring mill for his metal- 
cutting experiments. After investigating the trouble, he con- 
cluded: " (i) that belting rules in common use furnished 
belts entirely too light for economy, and (2) that the proper 
way to take care of belting was to have each belt in a shop 
tightened at regular intervals with belt clamps especially fitted 
with spring balances," which permitted each belt to be " re- 
tightened each time to exactly the same tension." ^ But never 
could he rest with conclusions that had not been thoroughly 
tested, and neither was he content to resort to experimenting 

^ On the Art of Cutting Metals, par. iii. 


until he had looked up what already had been done. He 
found that all the previous experiments in this held that were 
worth while had been of " short duration," and " very little 
information could be obtained as to the cost of maintenance 
of belts, or in regard to the interruptions to manufacture from 
belting." ^ Thus when he built his new shop 

. . . about half the belts in the shop were designed according to 
the ordinary rules and the other half were made about two and one- 
half times as heavy as the usual standard. This shop ran night and 
day. The behs were in all cases cared for and retightened only 
upon written orders sent from the shop office; and an accurate record 
was kept through nine years of all items of interest concerning each 
belt, namely: the number of hours lost through interruption to man- 
ufacture; the number of times each belt interrupted manufacture; 
the original cost of each belt; the detail costs of tightening, clean- 
ing, and repairing each belt; the fall in the tension before requir- 
ing retightening; and the time each belt would run without being 

His exhaustive experiments demonstrated not only his orig- 
inal hypothesis, but also many other facts of great service to 
industry J and as he himself said, " this belting experiment 
illustrates again the good that often comes indirectly from ex- 
periments undertaken in an entirely different field." 

Returning now to his problem pertaining to machine time, 
we find that he eventually discovered that it resolved itself into 
that of devising some practical means of accurately answer- 
ing these two questions which arise every time a piece of work 
is put into a metal-cutting machine: (i) At what rate should 
the metal be fed to the tool? (2) At what speed should the 
tool be run? 

" These questions," he testified, " sound so simple that they 
would appear to call for merely the trained judgment of any 

^ Notes on Belting, par. 5. 

- On the Art of Cutting Metals, par. 112. 


good mechanic." But what he gradually discovered, as he 
continued to resolve his problem into its elements, was that 
" the answer in every case involves the solution o£ an intri- 
cate mathematical problem in which the effect of twelve in- 
dependent variables must be determined." ^ 

A classic example, this, of the scientific method of delib- 
eration and analysis, so that you may know exactly what you 
don't know and must discover. It all comes down to asking 
yourself the right questions; and it was a bit of Sellers' wis- 
dom, we believe, that if only you do this, you usually will 
find that the answer is right at hand. True, this was far from 
being the case with Taylor's machine-time problem, but here 
the circumstances were most decidedly unusual. It was not 
merely that it was a problem of many complications. " The 
difficulty of Mr. Taylor's problem," says Gantt, " can be 
understood only when it is known, not only that he had no 
precedents and no standards to guide him, but that even the 
methods of devising the standards he needed had, when he 
began his experiments, to be developed." 

The fact was that in this field Taylor searched in vain for 
a record of any previous experiments, the indications being that 
no such investigation as his ever had been conceived of, much 
less attempted, before in this or any other country. 

^ In his paper On the Art of Cutting Metals (page 32), Taylor listed 
his variables as follows: " (a) the quality of the metal which is to be cut} 
(b) the diameter of the workj (c) the depth of the cut; (d) the thick- 
ness of the shaving; (e) the elasticity of the work and of the tool; (f) the 
shape or contour of the cutting edge of the tool, together with its clearance 
and lip angles; (g) the chemical composition of the steel from which the 
tool is made, and the heat treatment of the tool; (h) whether a copious stream 
of water or other cooling medium is used on the tool; (j) the duration of the 
cut, i.e., the time which a tool must last under pressure of the shaving without 
being reground; (k) the pressure of the chip or shaving upon the tool; (1) 
the changes of speed and feed possible in the lathe; (m) the pulling and feeding 
power of the lathe." Barth, who completed these metal-cutting experiments, 
has made an improved statement of the variables, but for the purpose of this 
biography Taylor's should suffice. 



LOOKING ahead, we find that Taylor was destined to 
pursue his metal-cutting investigation long after he 
left Midvale — that, in fact, he continued with it, off 
and on, over a period of a quarter of a century. Not until 
1906 did he publish anything about it. However, his high- 
speed steel, which was one of the by-products of this investi- 
gation, was exhibited at the Paris Exposition of 1900, and 
apparently as a direct consequence of the sensation it made in 
Europe, some metal-cutting experiments then were under- 
taken there. 

In 1 90 1, a committee of the Verein Deutscher Ingenieur 
(Society of German Engineers) did some experimenting in 
association with the managers of some of the larger engineer- 
ing works in Berlin. Then, covering a period of six months 
in the years 1902 and 1903, experiments more elaborate than 
the German were made at Manchester, England, by eight 
manufacturing firms acting jointly with the Manchester As- 
sociation of Engineers and the Manchester Municipal School 
of Technology. 

Neither these German nor these English experiments re- 
motely approached in exhaustiveness the ones that Taylor 
undertook single-handed, so to speak. The English, though 
going into the thing more deeply than the Germans, limited 
themselves to about 220 experiments. Taylor made about 
40,000. But the really noteworthy thing is the difference in 



From some rough notes Taylor jotted down apparently for 
an address, we quote the following: 

When starting an experiment in any field (particularly rule of 
thumb) question everything; question the very foundation upon which 
the art rests; question the simplest, most self-evident, most universally 
accepted facts; prove everything. 

Desirability of going all the way to the limit in experimenting. 
Only one variable at a time. Difiiculty in getting down to the real 
variable. Great temptation to experiment with more than one va- 
riable in order to get quick results. 

Perhaps the greatest difficulty of the experimenter is to hold the 
surrounding or accompanying conditions constant and uniform while 
one variable is experimented with; that is, to standardize surrounding 
conditions. Continual watchfulness and re-standardization of sur- 
rounding conditions necessary. If possible have two or three checks. 

The Germans, despite the reputation of their race for thor- 
oughness, took the easier course. So did the English. At 
Manchester, we believe, the joint effect of four or five va- 
riables was studied. Yes, and this easier way also was fol- 
lowed when, in 1905, some metal-cutting experiments were 
conducted by two professors at the University of Illinois. 
Only Taylor took the slow, patient, difficult course, and so 
reached conclusions that were absolutely sound. This though 
he had to conduct his experiments amid the every-day work of 
the shop, and was, at least after he left Midvale, under a 
painful necessity which he referred to in his notes as follows: 

The greatest difficulty in commercial life is to get the opportunity 
to successfully carry out the experiment; frequently more ingenuity is 
required in providing the opportunity' than in making the experiment 

Special ingenuity is required to see how experiment can be made 
profitable to employer in comparatively short time. Necessity in many 
cases for beginning at the wrong end of the experiment to furnish 
a convincing object lesson to your employer. 


Illustrative of the saying that science is but sublimated 
common sense is the fact that Taylor's truly scientific course 
represented the carrying out of the homely old adage, " One 
thing at a time." That he was inspired to take this course from 
the beginning, undoubtedly was due to the influence of his 
" Uncle William " Sellers. 

However, as he had to develop even the methods of devis- 
ing the standards for measuring the effect of each of his va- 
riables upon the cutting speed, it is not astonishing that his 
first standards proved wrong or inadequate. For example, 
it was not until after fourteen years that he discovered that 
the " best measure for the value of a tool lay in the exact 
cutting speed at which it was completely ruined at the end of 
twenty minutes." Another fact not surprising under the cir- 
cumstances is that, especially at the beginning, he occasionally 
failed to hold all his variables constant except the one he was 
studying, and that he from time to time failed to " record 
some of the phenomena considered unimportant at the time, 
but which afterward proved to be essential to a complete 
understanding of the facts "j so that again and again he had 
to " go more carefully over the ground previously traveled." 

Perhaps it may be considered strange that Sellers, a builder 
of machine-tools as well as a man of thoroughly scientific in- 
stincts, had never himself studied the question of the proper 
speeding of these machines. The answer, apparently, is to be 
found in the then prevailing custom of leaving all such things 
to the judgment of workmen, and the inhibiting effect that 
custom is likely to have on the best of us. The custom of 
leaving the handling of tools to the judgment of workmen 
was, of course, a relic of the old days when tools were few 
and extremely simple j and it is notorious that customs in gen- 
eral have a habit of persisting long after changed conditions 
have made them untenable. 

This fact is that manufacturers of machine-tools in general 


were content to remain ignorant of the speeds at which their 
machines should be run long after Taylor had finished his 
metal-cutting study and published it. 

I am well within the limit, gentlemen, in saying [he testified 
in 1 91 2] that not one machine in twenty in the average shop in this 
country is properly speeded. This may seem incredible, and yet I 
make the statement with a great deal of confidence, because the 
Tool Builders' Associ'ation of the United States — the men who 
manufacture the machine tools of this country — last spring asked 
me to address their annual convention. I told them, just as I have 
told you, that not one in twenty of the machines in their shops was 
properly speeded and I added, " You gentlemen know whether I 
am telling the truth or not, and I challenge anyone who thinks 1 
am wrong in this statement to go into his own shop, and let me show 
him how far wrong the speeds of his machine are." Not a man took 
up this challenge. 

With his habit of scientific investigation, he was destined 
to prove repeatedly that all kinds of manufacturers are likely 
to have only a superficial knowledge of the capabilities of 
their own products and the way they should be handled} his 
most vivid showing up in this respect having for its victims, 
as we shall see, the manufacturers of tool steel. 

Though readily explicable on a basis other than that of luck, 
it indeed was fortunate for him that his metal-cutting investi- 
gation early yielded by-products having immediate practical 
value, since he scarcely made any progress with his main in- 
vestigation during the first five years he struggled with it. 

To begin with, his study of the effect of each of his vari- 
ables upon the cutting speed involved finding for the laws 
thus discovered mathematical expressions which were " so 
simple as to be suited to daily use." As early as 1883 he de- 
veloped formulae which gave expression to the " broad laws " 
he had discovered at that time, and " fortunately these for- 
mulae were of the type capable of logarithmic expression and 


therefore suited to the gradual mathematical development ex- 
tending through a long period of years." However, he never 
developed himself very highly in mathematics. " Taylor," 
says Barth, " learned his mathematics quickly, and to a large 
extent forgot them quickly." That he did not have the time 
to go on with this science should be clear from what has been set 
forth of his undertakings in general, able though we are only 
to indicate, and that imperfectly, the totality of the things that 
this highly charged young man took upon himself. More- 
over, he had the true executive instinct of confiding to others 
as much detail as possible and of enlisting the cooperation of 
those with forms of ability supplementing his own. Thus, 
along about 1884, he asked permission of Sellers to employ a 
young technical man to help him, and because of the results he 
already had obtained. Sellers consented. 

The first man so employed was George M. Sinclair, a grad- 
uate of Stevens Institute. Sinclair continued at Midvale for 
about three years. Under Taylor's direction he worked out 
the first " simple formulae which expressed with approximate 
accuracy the effect of each of the numerous variables upon the 
cutting speed." But now the greatest difficulty arose. 

After these laws had been investigated [Taylor told the Special 
House Committee] and the various formulae which mathematically 
expressed them had been determined, there still remained the difficult 
task of how to solve one of these complicated mathematical problems 
quickly enough to make this knowledge available for every day use. 
If a good mathematician who had these formulae before him were 
to attempt to get the proper answer (/.^., to get the correct cutting 
speed and feed by working in the ordinary way), it would take him 
from two to six hours, say, to solve a single problem; far longer 
to solve the mathematical problem than would be taken in most cases 
by the workman in doing the whole job on his machine. 

Thus a task of considerable magnitude which faced us was that 
of finding a quick solution of this problem, and as we made progress 


in its solution, the whole problem was from time to time presented 
by me to one after another of the noted mathematicians in this coun- 
try. They were offered any reasonable fee for a rapid, practical 
method to be used in its solution. Some of these men merely glanced 
at it; others, for the sake of being courteous, kept it before them for 
some two or three weeks. They all gave us practically the same an- 
swer, that in many cases it was possible to solve mathematical prob- 
lems which contained four variables and in some cases problems 
with five or six variables, but that it was manifestly impossible to 
solve a problem containing twelve variables in any other way than by 
the slow process of " trial and error." 

This difficulty was not overcome until 1899,^ when Taylor 
was at Bethlehem J but some progress was made at Midvale, 
where, as Taylor wrote: 

The first mathematical solution of the problem was made by Mr. 
G. M. Sinclair, who devoted, as the writer remembers, a year or more 
of consecutive work to this end with the help and advice of the writer. 
This solution was accomplished by means of overlying curves plotted 
on ordinary cross-section paper, with which we were able to work 
out laboriously and exceedingly slowly, for each particular lathe or 
planer, a set of tables which could be used for most of the conditions 
met with in ordinary work. This method was, however, so exceed- 
ingly slow and laborious as to make it far from generally useful.^ 

When Sinclair gave up this work in 1887, he recommended 
that there be employed as his successor one of his Stevens 
classmates named Henry L. Gantt. Thus in this year there 
came together two young men (Taylor was then thirty-one and 
Gantt twenty-six), who, though they were temperamental 

^ According to Mr. Barth, the mathematical problem that from the be- 
ginning confronted Taylor and his co-workers was essentially this: "how to 
determine that feed and speed of a machine that will at the same time utilize a 
maximum of the power the machine is capable of developing at that speed, and 
the ability of the cutting tool itself to stand up to the work an economical 
length of time before giving out, on a piece of work of a certain degree of 
hardness, and of a certain diameter to be reduced to a certain smaller diameter." 

^ On the Art of Cutting Metals^ p. 277. 


opposites in some respects, formed a professional association 
that was destined to continue for many a year. Born in 1861 
on a farm in southern Maryland, Gantt attended a school near 
Baltimore from 1873 to 1878; was graduated from Johns 
Hopkins University in 1880 with the degree of a.b., taught 
school for the following three years j and then, in 1884, ob- 
tained his degree of m.e. at Stevens. We are told that at the 
beginning of his work at Midvale, he won Taylor's confidence 
by promptly solving a mathematical problem which had baf- 
fled both Taylor and Sinclair j Gantt reaching his solution 
by emphasizing the coincidences and minimizing the differ- 
ences, and so tracing out a law, a method highly characteristic 
of his fluent, adaptable nature. 

After Mr. Sinclair left the problem [Taylor continued in his 
metal-cutting paper], Mr. H. L. Gantt devoted a year or more of 
his time almost exclusively to its solution, and it was during this 
period that we substituted curves laid out on logarithmic paper for 
the direct curves laid out on ordinary cross-section paper. As a result 
of this work, we obtained a logarithmic sheet upon which both dia- 
grams and figures were used to represent the laws, and by means of 
an elaborate cross slide, upon which further elements of the laws were 
entered, we were able to make a more rapid and much more direct 
solution of the problem. This was done, however, by the method 
of trial and error, but by means of this crude sliding table we were 
able to make quite rapid approximations to the proper working con- 

Testifying in 19 12 before the Special House Committee, 
he said: 

The Midvale Steel Works, my old establishment, are still using the 
tables which Mr. Gantt and I developed there for running their 
machines, instead of the more modern and far more efficient slide 
rules developed after we left there. These tables were the limit of 
the mathematical solution of that problem when we left Midvale 
in i88q. 



IN THE notes he sketched for a paper on experimenting, 
we read further: 

Our experiments have been of two kinds: first, the reduction of 
the control and operation of machines from rule of thumb to science, 
and, second, the examination and standardization of human actions 
and work with relation both to maximum efficiency and maximum 

In changing a machine from rule of thumb both in design and 
in running to a science, first note carefully all the defects of the ma- 
chine; that is, all things likely to get out of order and cause bad 
work or stoppage. Next chase down and analyze each defect and 
note the effect that it has upon the time problem; that is, upon the 
quantity and the quality of the output. Then centre upon the most 
important defect and correct it; then follow up in regular order of 

Next study all the elements as they effect the speed and output, 
whether they are connected with the machine alone or with the man 
and the machine combined; then find the one or more elements which 
limit the speed of output; centre on the most important, and 
correct them one after another. This generally involves a combina- 
tion of study of the man with the machine and involves in many 
cases minute time observations with the stop watch. 

His time study and his metal-cutting investigation were in- 
deed closely connected and interwoven j having for their com- 
mon purpose the cutting down of time to the minimum 
consistent with the doing of good work. In like manner his 



belting experiments, which were an offshoot of his metal- 
cutting investigation, had mainly for their purpose the saving 
of time through the avoidance of delays and interruptions. 

Incidentally we can see this purpose as the general cause 
of the outpouring of his ingenuity in mechanical invention. 
His great steam-hammer was designed to work faster than any 
other thing of its kind. He built a new chimney on top of 
an old one to save " a loss of at least one or two months in 
time." And here is the machine-tool table he invented early 
at Midvale, the table being the part of the machine on which 
work is place to be operated on. It usually takes much time to 
set the work on the table and secure it by clamping, and Tay- 
lor just could not stand the spectacle of the machine standing 
idle while this was being done. So what he invented was a 
" false " table, or one that was separable from the machine j 
this, of course, permitting new work to be made entirely or 
nearly ready on a table while the machine continued busy. 
Then his study of cutting tools led him to invent a new tool 
holder further to expedite the work. This, roughly described, 
enabled a tool to be held in various positions to correspond to 
various surfaces, and thus made it possible for one tool to take 
the place of several of different shapes. 

In writing about Taylor's metal-cutting investigation at 
Midvale, Barth says: 

This implied, besides the study of the possibilities of the cutting 
tools themselves, also a study of the properties of each machine dealt 
with, in a manner that had probably never been undertaken or thought 
of before. Through these studies of the machine-tools themselves, 
Mr. Taylor was able to furnish greatly improved detailed specifica- 
tions for new machines to be purchased, so that very early in his career 
he also exerted some influence on the machine-tool building industry, 
of v^^hich I, as draftsman at the vi^orks of William Sellers & Company, 
was made cognizant as far back as the early eighties.^ 

^ Earth's " Supplement to Frederick W. Taylor's * On the Art of Cutting 
Metals} ' " Industrial Management , September, 19 19. 


Still another investigation he started at Midvale had for 
its object the finding of " some rule, or law, which would en- 
able a foreman to know in advance how much of any kind of 
heavy laboring work a man who was well suited to his job 
ought to do in a day." His first step was to " look up all that 
had been written on the subject in English, German, and 
French," and what he found was that 

. . . two classes of experiments had been made: one by physiolo- 
gists who were studying the endurance of the human animal, and 
the other by engineers who wished to determine what fraction of 
a horse-power a man-power was. These experiments had been made 
largely upon men who were hfting loads by means of turning the 
crank of a winch from which weights were suspended, and others 
who were engaged in walking, running, and lifting weights in various 
ways. However, the records of these investigations were so meager 
that no law of any value could be deduced from them."^ 

His purpose was to discover, not what a man could do " on 
a short spurt or for a few days," but " the best day's work 
that a man could properly do year in and year out and still 
thrive under." Two first-class laborers, to whom were paid 
double wages, were selected for these experiments, and for 
weeks Taylor's time-study man recorded every element con- 
nected with their work which was " believed could have a 
bearing on the result." At Midvale these experiments " re- 
sulted in obtaining valuable information," but for the de- 
velopment of the law " governing the tiring effect of heavy 
labor on a first-class man," Taylor again had to wait until he 
went to Bethlehem and there had the assistance of Barth. 

He deliberated and analyzed and investigated and experi- 
mented all along the line. For the qualities of equipment 
and materials he refused to take the salesman's or the manu- 
facturer's word. When electric lamps were installed at his 

^ The Principles of Scientific Management, p. 54. 


boring mills, he kept records of the consumption of current of 
several varieties so that he might determine the most eco- 

A thing to be noted about his deliberation is that he did 
not wait until it was all nicely polished off before he proceeded 
to experiment. As he was a fallible human being, and so 
could not determine from the beginning all the knowledge 
he must seek, his deliberation naturally was subject to a con- 
tinual process of correction and extension. There, for ex- 
ample, was his original thought that the essence of the prob- 
lem as to the speed at which cutting tools could be run lay 
in their shapes and angles j after months of experimenting he 
learned that this was only one of twelve elements in his speed 
problem. This illustrates that with any scientist deliberation 
probably is as much the effect of experimentation as the cause, 
the one reacting on the other. 

In his later years Taylor came to exclaim against the folly 
of trying to make sure you are entirely right before you go 
ahead. It was his wisdom that you can safely go ahead if 
only you are sure that your general direction is right — and 
you should not spend too much time trying to make sure even 
of that J you at least can proceed with caution. "You learn 
more with a poor start," he said, " than with no start at all." 
Evidently this principle of learning through acting governed 
him as far back as his days at Midvale. It is to be observed, 
however, that his early-established rule of doing no experi- 
menting himself until he had exhausted all available means 
of learning what experimenting already had been done in the 
field concerned was one from which he never deviated. 

As his time study or his metal-cutting investigation made 
it necessary for him to experiment at or with various machines, 
these machines were withdrawn from the regular work of the 
shop. This signifies that if he did not actually set up a lab- 
oratory, he did what amounted to the same thing. Certainly 

:v ;c-3 

Time Note. 

Machine Shop, .- . 


Do alJ work on Tire No 
STAs oer Slandin.-^ Order No. 

I\S!!)F FlAN<:''. 

Rough face frop.t e'l'^f. 

Finish bore front, 

Rough bore front, 

Rough face front. T. S. F. 

Cut out fillet, . 

Rough, bore hvnt, I, S. F 

R^ugh fice back tjA'^c. 

I'^inish bc^re 1 ac'-:,. 

Rough bore back, 

Rough face back, L S F. 

Cut out fillet 

Cut P-— 

' Ro-^i Vu-:i tr.-.,!, . , . 
j^ Finish turn ■ ' 

j RonM, U.-. 

i F 

l-,o. TIME 

'(. Tiiiu: in. 

1 Ota] time, 

1...I /vir." t eanv'd, 


A " time note " for machine work, in which were combined certain features 

of his later work-order slip and instruction card. Midvale, about 1885 



Machine Shop, 





Enter tires in records from standing orders. . 

Enter tire time-notes on wliite sheets, . . . . 

Post tire records from time-notes, 

Enter wei.ifhts of tires on white sheet and I 
add up weights of tires from ure mill, i 

Post wages earned by men on mills and tix 1 

File and put away records of finished tires, 

Assort tire records and put in final file. . . , 

.Make out standing orders 1. S. F. tires, . . 

Make out standing orders tires, . 

Enter miscellaneous time-notes on white sheet. 

Post miscellaneous time-notes in records, . 

Check off white and yellow sheets from registe 
for nien, to see if all time is correct, . . 

Enter axles (standing orders) in records. 

Post records of axles from time-notes, . . 

Take out standing orders to boxes 

Make out standing orders for I. S. F. tires, 

Make out standing orders for ordinary tires. 


Time out 
Tinie in. 

Total time 
Total amount earned 

I have inspected the above work and find that it is all 
done as per order. 


Showing that Taylor early standardized clerical operations. Mid- 
vale, about 1885 


his was the laboratory method. However, nothing like his 
laboratory ever had been known before in the sense that its 
purpose was to determine best shop ways with a view to their 
standardization. And this brings us to that great principle 
of his which during his lifetime few people, whether apart 
from industry or of it, were able to grasp. 

From the very outset his principle of standardization ap- 
pears. He found that the big obstacle to getting the maxi- 
mum production was the then universal difficulty of rewarding 
workers equitably according to their accomplishment, and de- 
liberation showed him that the bottom of this difficulty was 
the fact that management had " no proper standards for a day's 
work." Thus it was really to establish proper standards of 
accomplishment (and so be able to set equitable piece-rates) 
that he began his experiments. 

Now, there are jobs where the difficulty of maintaining the 
desired quality of work is so great that the time element is 
comparatively negligible, but they are the exception which 
proves the rule that, because of the relation between speed and 
economy, a proper standard of accomplishment is funda- 
mentally one of speed or of the time needed to produce work 
of the desired quality. Hence Taylor's " laboratory " was 
fundamentally concerned with determining standard times. 
And that this was a problem possible of solution only by Tay- 
lor's method of job analysis should be clear when it is consid- 
ered that you cannot determine with accuracy the total time a 
job should take until you resolve it into its elementary opera- 
tions and time these. Once having determined these elemen- 
tary times, however, you have data for any new jobs that may 
come into the shop, since all jobs simply represent different 
combinations of the same elements. 

But there is the fact that the time even an elementary 
operation should take all depends upon the way it is per- 
formed. This means that to determine the quickest times for 


adoption as standard, Taylor had to determine the best ways. 
How could he have done this save through his method of 
motion study? So there in the " laboratory " was the young 
man he employed to specialize in this study and the first-class 
workman who was selected to cooperate with that young manj 
these two experimenting with all the small details pertaining 
to the handling of materials, tools, and machines — the lifting 
to the machine of the metal to be cutj the putting of such 
tools as drills and reamers into the machine j the measuring 
with calipers, gages, or scales j the starting of the machine j the 
changing of the feed or speed j the adjusting of various parts 
of the machine. 

And in the meantime there was Taylor conducting with the 
help of Sinclair and Gantt the experiments necessary to de- 
termine what the actual cutting time of the machine should be. 
True, he did not get very far with this problem at Midvalej 
nevertheless, he there succeeded in tracing out laws and getting 
formulae and tables which, though crude in the light of the 
ultimate development, enabled him early to establish standard 
combinations of feed and speed for certain operations such 
as the boring and turning of steel tires for locomotive wheels, 
the net result being a marked reduction in the machine time. 
And this illustrates, by the way, that the one best way of do- 
ing a thing is always relative to time and place, or the existing 
stage in the development of the art. 

But now let us fix our attention on those certain operations. 
For them Taylor not only had the data which enabled him to 
determine what the machine time should be, but also the data 
yielded by his motion study which enabled him to determine 
what the handling time should be. 

, So far, all very well. But it is to be observed that these 
data were developed under laboratory conditions. All the 
conditions were under control. Both the machine and the belt- 
ing which delivered power to it had been brought up to 


standard condition and kept there. The cutting tools had been 
of the same quality of steel, had been subjected to uniform 
tempering, and had been ground to the same shapes and angles. 
Likewise the tools used for setting and holding the work in 
the machine and for measuring it had been of a certain kind 
and had been kept in a uniformly good condition. Moreover, 
these tools always had been on hand as wanted, and the same 
thing was true of the metal which was cut. Finally, there 
is the fact that the workmen who had cooperated in the time 
and motion study had been picked out as first-class men for 
the particular jobs studied, and also had been under control 
in the sense that, by the offer of an extra wage, they had been 
induced faithfully to carry out the detailed instructions. 

Obviously, then, as Taylor wished to make practical shop 
use of data developed in his " laboratory," he had to ex- 
ercise in the shof the same control he had exercised in the lab- 
oratory. So now were thrust upon him further problems in 
standardization as compared with which those involved in de- 
termining best ways were simple. 

First of all, he had to standardize all the shop conditions — 
bring them up to the same standard that had obtained in his 
" laboratory." This made it necessary for him to take the tool 
grinding and dressing out of the hands of the individual work- 
men 3 and as there must be not only standard cutting tools but 
also standard bolts, clamps, dogs, calipers, gages, scales, 
dividers, etc., and all these tools must be on hand when wanted 
so that the workmen would not lose time chasing them up or 
be forced to resort to tools other than standard, Taylor had to 
establish a tool room for their systematic care, storage, and 
issuance. And it also was necessary for him to develop 
standard practice for such things as caring for the belting and 
oiling the machines. Certainly it was not until all this stand- 
ardization work was done that he could begin to make proper 
use of his metal-cutting and motion-study data. 


But just how could he make use of these data? Plainly it 
involved getting the right materials and the right tools in the 
right condition to the right man at the right machine with the 
right instructions at the right time. All causes for delay must 
be guarded against. As far as possible, the flow of work must 
be continuous. Therefore, all the work of the shof had to be 
carefully 'planned in advance. 

But there was the matter of the instructions. Just as Taylor 
had found that you cannot determine with accuracy the total 
time a job should take until you resolve it into its elementary 
operations and time these, so he now found that to get the 
job done in that time, he would have to list for the benefit 
of the workmen the elementary operations that were necessary 
and the time each should takej which is to say he found that he 
would have to give his men detailed instructions in writing. 

It is well known to all executives that it is one thing to give 
employees instructions and quite another thing to get them to 
follow the instructions faithfully. And these instructions of 
Taylor's called for exceptional work — not only for greater 
continuity of effort but also for a higher order of attention 
and watchfulness. They thus ran counter to the average man's 
very human disposition to take things easy. They, in fact, 
called for a marked and permanent change in his habits. Could 
Taylor, then, have forced his men into following his instruc- 
tions? The fact is that if only because his long fight with his 
men had taught him a sharp lesson in the limitations of force, 
he had no idea of attempting such a thing. 

We have seen that when he selected workmen to participate 
in his motion study, he had to enlist their cooperation, their 
good will. Plainly the same principle held good when it 
came to getting men to work the way the motion study showed 
they should work. It was not so much a matter of getting 
them to work harder as of getting them to work better y to 
make all of their motions tell. 


Fcin-1 X-20! 


Engineer's Office^ ?.!, s. Co! '" 


Order.' Porter Allen Engine. 

^l^^-l^^l''''.''^''::l ^^"''' ^"^^' Engine and oiling- the same. OJ^ 
! ''''"^^^ ^'''^ -^^li.annex, and in Hammer Shop to first Tuinb' • 
^><^^^ i-an-pr i:.r O. H. Crane. Oil wire ro,.e pujlle- h.^.v-.^n t' 
';; ' '"'^' ""'^ '^'^^ ^^^f ^^•^- ^^^ ^- ^ Hammer Cranes and^halting 
_■; ' ■'-; .-ISO all sh.ftino- connected with the ]^-nJincr 

r _, , . ^ ';;• ^*^-' "'- ^i' ^'^'^ ^^^^^■'^ niachinery clean, and the 
-u^oli.a par., po.shec!. ., per Standin- Order No 



Showing provision for the maintenance of standard conditions. Midvale, 

about 1885 

Form X-219. 
Report on Adjustment of Tables of Boring Mills. i 

Machine Shop 188 'i 

MiJ. TAYf.or: 

! ;.;;v.; tills day exiiuiiiiod tlip tahlrs of the fblkjwijipv 
Boring Mills, and find them adjiistod as stated bdow. 

No. of T-xWe, Man f, 

re IT; 


Mill. iiiyh or low. runnifg the Mill in charge of M:l]. r^^htorr.of; "' 

Si^neci ^^^^ 


Showing provision for the maintenance of standard conditions. Midvale, 
about 1885 


Even then, as Taylor had induced men to cooperate in his 
experiments by offering them an extra wage, so he now 
offered them an extra wage for following his detailed instruc- 
tions for the doing of the every-day work of the shop. The 
principle was that of exceptional or extra-ordinary wages for 
exceptional or extra-ordinary work. If it was a straight engi- 
neering proposition, it also was a just one, and for this latter 
reason alone Taylor would have adopted it, old-fashioned 
righteousness being a part of his heritage. 

From the beginning, apparently, he had foreseen that, as he 
determined what his men ought to be able to do with their 
equipment and materials, he could pay them higher wages 
permanently. This, indeed, was one of his principal objects. 
His instinctive belief all along had been that it was for him 
as a manager to see, not how little he could pay his men, but 
how much. 

Now, as far back as Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations 
(1776) it had been felt that there is a fallacy in the idea that 
the less there is paid to labor, the less will the product costj 
and while in the i88o's it still was far from common for 
managers to be far-sighted enough to grasp this, more and 
more were beginning to realize that workmen will not do an 
extra-ordinary day's work for an ordinary day's pay. How- 
ever, all those who had been paying extra-ordinary wages had 
done so in accordance with the philosophy of " initiative and 
incentive," and it will be seen how different from this Taylor's 
action became j he paid extra-ordinary wages, ultimately to 
stimulate the wormen to do more or better work, but im- 
mediately to give them an incentive for maintaining the stand- 
ards of accomplishment determined by his scientific experi- 

It now should be recognized that here, coming into being, 
was an entirely new thing in management, the " central idea " 
of which, as Taylor came to describe it, was this: 


(a) To give each workman each day in advance a definite task, 
with detailed written instructions, and an exact time allowance for 
each element of the work. 

(b) To pay extraordinarily high wages to those who perform 
their tasks in the allotted time, and ordinary wages to those who 
take more than their time allowance/ 

But this brings us to the fact that standards of accomplish- 
ment for employees will be set in vain, and every possible 
incentive for maintaining those standards will be given them 
in vain, unless at the same time there is maintained that stand- 
ardization of methods, equipment, materials, and general 
working conditions upon which standards of accomplishment 
depend. And of all the problems in standardization which 
confronted Taylor, this one of maintenance was by far the 
most nicely designed to exhaust his high courage and his 
superb power of will. If things and persons, once put, only 
would stay put! If only they did not have that well-nigh 
universal tendency to sag, lapse, deteriorate, and get out of 
tune! However, it is unlikely that there ever was a person 
freer than Taylor from the weakness of repining that things 
and persons are what they are. He cheerfully adapted him- 
self and his work to the world as he found it, and this, not 
by any surrender of his ideals, but by resorting to every device 
necessary to bring his ideals to pass. And it was just in this 
way that there was brought into existence that complex of 
methods and mechanisms of management which became 
known as the Taylor System. 

It signifies not merely that standardization inevitably leads 
to systemization, for the reason that without system standards 
cannot be maintained. It signifies also that in proportion to 
the definiteness, determinateness, and high development of 
your standards must he the definiteness^ determinateness y and 
high development of your system. 

^ On the Art of Cutting Metals, pars, 2-3. 



IN our previous chapter we were chiefly concerned with 
tracing the rationale of Taylor's course as he began the 
development of his system. And it is to be observed that 
if his course was logical from the beginning, it was because he 
was scientific by instinct — was thoroughly sincere in his de- 
sire for economy and in his search for the facts, and likewise 
in his willingness to follow the facts regardless of accepted 
beliefs or the effect on his personal fortunes. Could there, 
indeed, be a finer example of what H. G. Wells calls the 
scientific man's " intensity, integrity, breadth, boldness, pa- 
tience, thoroughness, and faithfulness"? 

Naturally it is not meant that Taylor's course was straight- 
forwardly logical. Nothing in life moves that way. Things 
in life are very much mixed up, and even the movements 
which are prevailingly logical pass through many inconse- 
quences, or what appear to be such. And while it is the art of 
the historian to simplify this complexity, as by so suppressing 
the inconsequences that the logic may appear, he yet must be 
on his guard against that undue simplification out of which 
comes the artificial, the essentially false. The complexity 
must at least be indicated. 

Certainly Taylor's various problems in standardization were 
not presented to him in a chronological order nicely corre- 
sponding to their logical order of determination, establish- 
ment, and maintenance, but were all thrust upon him in 
varying degrees at practically the same time, so that he could 
not get one problem finally solved before proceeding to the 



next, but was compelled temporarily to resort to makeshifts 
with one while he dealt with others. 

To begin with, he could not in his experimental " labora- 
tory " determine finally what were the proper standards of 
accomplishment for his men. As these men attempted to per- 
form the standard tasks set for them, they had to have their 
say, and sometimes their say revealed that wrong observations 
had been made in the " laboratory." It was in the actual 
practice of the shop that the standard finally was threshed out. 
The fact is that the detailed written instructions Taylor gave 
his men amounted to a time table for the doing of their workj 
and in telling a man he should take just so many minutes in 
which to do each of the things necessary to the completion of 
his job, the burden naturally rested on Taylor of proving that 
only those things were necessary and that his times were 

Of course, when a man protests that he cannot do a job in 
the time given him, it may prove that he has no earthly fitness 
for that job, or that, being fitted for it, he needs a lot of 
teaching to attain to the skill required. And this is what 
Taylor found repeatedly. A man, for example, might fail 
to come up to standard at milling-machine work because it was 
too complicated for him, whereas, placed at a drill press, he 
could make good. Still, even here he probably would have 
to be coached and encouraged j it might very well be that 
reaching standard to-day, he would begin to fall off tomorrow, 
seeing that his maintenance of the standard required the de- 
velopment in him of new habits. 

But this was only one phase of Taylor's troubles in getting 

•^ Taylor frequently referred to this as showing that with his methods it 
was not a case of management's imposing laws on employees. If in his philos- 
phy the one best way as determined by due investigation and experiment became 
the law, the employees necessarily had a part in the investigation and experiment 
by which the law was determined. Neither the skilled worker chosen to operate 
the machine during the investigation nor the worker in the shop when the try- 
out was made was a " silent partner." 


his standard tasks performed. One day a man might fail to 
perform his task because something went wrong with his ma- 
chine. The next day he might be delayed by a slipping belt. 
Again he might have to wait for the instructions or the tools 
or the material he needed for a new job. 

All in all, then, it will be seen how Taylor's most vexa- 
tious problem of maintaining standards was interwoven with 
his problems of determining and establishing standards. 

As his experiments developed best ways, he immediately set 
about putting them into practice. The fact that Taylor was 
intent on the best does not mean that he could not make him- 
self content with what was good enough for the time being. 
" To keep pressing after the best," says Barth, " is sometimes 
nothing short of a crime." With Taylor the main thing was 
to get output j and it is easy to see how this main problem at 
any particular time would have suflFered if, in dealing with its 
various elements, he had waited to get each one perfected 
before proceeding to the next. All through his career it was 
characteristic of him to stop with a device which, however 
crude, represented a fair solution of the particular problem 
concerned and so permitted him to turn to something else 
which then and there also was in crying need of attention. 
Here, in fact, he exemplified that common sense which he 
defined as " the ability to decide as to the relative importance 
of things — the ability to select from among the several lines 
of action which lie before you, the one act which is best, the 
one act which will yield the largest return." It will be seen 
also that his method in building up his management system 
was nicely analogous to his methods of studying a machine, or 
that of " chasing down " and analyzing each defect, noting 
its effect upon the time problem, and centering upon the most 
important from that point of view. 

Rough indeed were some of the devices he resorted to at 
Midvale for pushing work through. In other instances, how- 


ever, he worked things out to a high degree, as in the case of 
his tool room, though here his system of nomenclature for 
tools was crude as compared with the classification and sym- 
bolization he developed later. 

Among the " more important steps " attending the progress 
of his work that he listed in his metal-cutting paper, we find 
this: " In 1884, the design of an automatic grinder for grind- 
ing tools in lots, and the construction of a tool room for storing 
and issuing tools ready ground to the men." It was the build- 
ing of the new machine shop that gave him the opportunity 
to take this radical action. 

The thing had been foreshadowed by Sellers at his own 
plant. Sellers himself had designed an automatic grinder, 
and a fine onej and we are informed that "earlier than the 
year 1878 they had at the Sellers plant a "pretty well or- 
ganized " tool room. But it was left to Taylor to develop 
the thingj his mechanism not only definitely fixing the re- 
sponsibility for the maintenance of tools in standard condition, 
as was not done at the Sellers plant, but also accounting for 
and locating every tool, whether it had been issued to a work- 
man, was being reground, or had been sent to the blacksmith 
for reforging. Incidentally it may be mentioned that the 
reason he was not content to adopt the Sellers grinder was that 
he wanted one which would work faster.^ 

His tool room again illustrates that the things he did were 
radical only in the sense that they represented a hastening to 
a conclusion of what was inevitably coming on. 

Once the workman supplied practically all of his own tools. 
As machine-tools developed, these, along with the cutting 
tools used in them, had of course to be supplied by the 

^ Sellers, we believe, oflFered his men a bonus of a cent each for grinding 
tools to the standard shapes and angles adopted at his plant. However, as he 
had no system of inspection to insure this being done, it was done very im- 
perfectly or not at all; and here is a concrete illustration of the dependence 
of standardization upon systemization. 


management. Then as there developed finer and more costly 
hand-tools such as gages, these too were supplied by the 
management j and it became necessary to have a place in which 
to keep these hand-tools as well as the finer and more costly 
cutting tools such as drills and reamers. But such things 
as lathe tools and milling cutters continued to be left in the 
shop, supposedly at the machines where they would be 
needed J while blocks, bolts, and clamps were scattered about 
promiscuously. And the workman continued to supply such 
tools as monkey-wrenches, scribers, and calipers. 

As management saw it must assume the responsibility for 
the shapes and angles of cutting tools, it was inevitable that 
it should arrange for the systematic care, storage, and issu- 
ance of all cutting tools j and this is what, to a degree, had 
happened at the Sellers' plant. Now came Taylor who saw 
that the management must predetermine the time for doing 
work, and this made it inevitable that the management should 
systematically provide, care for, store, and issue tools of all 
descriptions. If the workman had to go on spending time 
hunting for blocks, bolts, and clamps of the correct size and 
getting them into good condition, it would be impossible to 
determine for his work a standard time. Then, again, a stand- 
ard time could be calculated only by determining the ele- 
mentary times; and if, say, a proper time were to be allowed 
the workman for adjustments to his machine requiring the use 
of one or more wrenches, this could be done only on the basis 
of his having ready on his tool stand a wrench of the right 
kind and size. 

So, though Taylor personally was careless about such things 
and often had to fine himself for violating his own system 
and leaving small implements around, it was inevitable that 
he should have hastened the establishment among tools of a 
beautiful order. Not only a place for everything and every- 
thing in its place, but also everything in proper variety, suffi- 


dent quantity, and the pink o£ condition. And withal a beau- 
tiful economy of storage space and facility of finding just 
what was wanted/ 

Because of the amount of system made necessary to sup- 
port it, standardization is likely to present an appearance of 
complication. It was Taylor's idea, however, that it really 
means simplification, and in illustration of this he wrote: 

It is far simpler to have all the tools in a standardized shop ground 
by one man to a few simple but rigidly maintained shapes than to 
have, as is usual in the old-style shop, each machinist spend a portion 
of each day at the grindstone, grinding his tools with radically wrong 
curves and cutting angles, merely because bad shapes are easier to 
grind than good.^ 

It came to be frequently protested that to take from work- 
men the power to select and care for their implements is to 
destroy their power of self-expression, their freedom as in- 
dividuals. But perhaps the foregoing quotation will indicate 
that the only power of self-expression Taylor took from 
workmen was power to express their idiosyncrasy and caprice, 
and that if he curtailed any of their freedom, it was their 
freedom to follow the easiest way. 

Another high development Taylor brought about at 
Midvale was his system of oiling machines. This device for 
maintaining things in standard condition created no end of 
amusement among Taylor's fellow officers, and the wonder of 
it still is talked about. All we can do here is to indicate its 
general nature. 

To begin with, he had a man go over every machine and 
the moving parts connected with it and chalk every oil hole 

^ In like manner Taylor later devoloped a stores room of conditioned, in- 
spected, and classified stores and worked materials, but the thing hardly was 
necessary at Midvale, where the materials mainly consisted of large forgings 
and castings. However, he at Midvale made progress toward the better 
standardization of materials. 

2 On the Art of Cutting Metals^ P- 55- 


and every surface that required oiling. Then he had another 
man cover the same ground to make sure that nothing had 
escaped the first. This done, he had a high-grade mechanic 
study the best order in which holes and surfaces should be 
oiled, and these places then were consecutively numbered by 

For the oil holes he had made two sets of wooden plugs, 
one set with round heads and the other with square, and each 
set was numbered to correspond to the numbers of the oil 
holes. While one set was in the oil holes, the other set was 
kept in a box bored with holes to correspond to the oil holes. 
In like manner he had made for the surfaces to be oiled two 
sets of small hooks, one with round and the other with square 

In the morning, the operator of a machine found the oil 
holes fitted with square-headed plugs, and at the surfaces to 
be oiled hung the hooks with the square tags. Before start- 
ing his machine he was required to replace the " square " ob- 
jects with the " round " ones, and as he did this to oil the 
hole or surface} and at noon, when another oiling was called 
for, he was required to replace the " round " plugs and hooks 
with the " square." The object, of course, was to make 
him give attention to each and every hole and surface, 
and do this in the proper order j and at any time it could 
be seen whether all his " square " or " round " plugs and 
hooks were in place as might be called for. Incidentally 
the plugs, which were cylindrical and made a neat fit in the 
holes, kept dust from getting in and cutting the bearings. 

Taylor wrote that the " greatest obstacle in the application 
of this system was, as one would anticipate, the antipathy of 
the men to any innovation "j and he placed on one man the 
responsibility of keeping it running. Eventually to this man 
also was assigned the duty of oiling all the shafting and re-v 
splicing or lacing all the belts. 


Lists were made out of all the oil holes and surfaces to 
be oiled} these stating to what parts of the machines the holes 
conducted the oil, and the kind of oil to be used in each case. 
Duplicates of these lists were filed in the office j and here we 
can see an early development of the principle of reducing 
all recurrent procedure to standard practice and recording it. 
The ordinary way is to leave such procedure entirely to some 
individual, who in the course of time may work out for it a 
pretty good method. All of this knowledge, however, he 
carries in his head} so that if he falls ill, the procedure suffers, 
and if he quits the business, some one else must work it out 
all over again. Taylor not only required the management 
to determine right at the start the best method, but by his 
records he made the business independent of the comings and 
goings of individuals, and his records served as insurance 
against mistakes, failures of memory, and human fallibility in 

He developed standard practice, not only for the machine 
shop, but also in connection with his position as master me- 
chanic in charge of repairs and maintenance throughout the 
works. And in the case of the practice he worked out for the 
care of the boilers we have another example of wonderful 
thoroughness. There were detailed instructions to the en- 
gineer for cleaning the boilers out; instructions to a machinist 
for inspecting the boilers to see what parts required repairing 
while they were being cleaned} instructions to the fireman for 
letting the fires die out and for blowing the boilers off} in- 
structions to a machinist for inspecting the boilers for such 
things as mud and scale and for taking out the grate bars} 
instructions for chipping scale, removing mud, and scraping 
soot and other deposits from the fire surfaces} and so on and 
so forth. 

All such instructions were contained in a " standing order 
file," and a " tickler " system was developed for calling things 

Duties of Clerk. 

{cleaning one week frofn that, Also notice to Assistant 
JBUe ineer, dated 5days ahead of Supt'« notice, that 
jBoilers are due for cleaning two days from that time. 
Make out the Clerks Report on cleaning of 
he Boiler*, have it signed by the Cliief Engineer, and 
fthen file it in the Permanent Record. 

Standing Order showing duties of Clerk in Engineers 
Office when # Set of Boilers are to be cleaned 


?ive daysybfore the cleaning of Boilers is to begin 

[nspect all of yo ir standing orders and accompany ng 
;ime. notes, and compare them with the full set kept 
Ln the Permanent Record of Boilers; to be sure that 
they are all on hand, and in order; and then place 
'Xhe full set of orders, properly sorted in a pile 
together in the order in which theyare wanted. 
I On the same day fill in Machinists name and 
plate on standing order # and give it to him: a; the 
tame time give him following note on which he must 
>nter the repairs to be madesand return it to the 
: Engineers Office on the same day. 

!iiachinis»8 Report on repairs needed to # Boilers 
Assistant Engineer. 

e following repairs should tie made while # set of 
oilers are blwwi out. 





Pag-e 4 of a 21 -page document entitled "Duties of Clerk When Boilers are to be 

Cleaned"; showing that Taylor early adopted the practice of recording standard methods 

and of clearly defining responsibility. Midvale, about 1885 


^-^ ^ /Z/ ^^Z2^ ^Z^'' ^l^T^c^Z ^C^.^^.^^^^ ^2,:^ 

^Tt^ ^ ^'^r^.^'TiCi::^^^^^^^ ^u^ ^J^^- -<^7^ .^^^(^ 


Pag-e 3 of an 8-page document entitled " Method of Oiling Machines." Midvale, 
about 1885 


up at the dates on which they needed to be done. It is said 
that Taylor got the tickler idea from what he had observed 
of the system used in banks for calling up notes due. Ap- 
parently he never went anywhere that his eyes were not open 
to see all that might be of use in his own business. Of course 
he did not stop with mechanism that called things up when 
they should be done, but must needs have a system of reports 
designed to show whether or not the things had been done. 
As the building of the new machine shop, in 1884, facili- 
tated the work of standardizing " small details," such as tools 
and the care of machines and belting, it gave him an enhanced 
opportunity to take advantage of the time-study and metal- 
cutting data that his " laboratory " up to that time had de- 
veloped. In 1884, in fact, we can see his general system 
slowly getting under way; and, incidentally, this was the 
year he was more or less informally appointed chief engineer 
of the works by Superintendent Davenport. However, he had 
not yet made any progress with his main problem pertaining 
to the speeding of the machines. It was in this year that he 
employed Sinclair to work on this problem, and in 1887 
Gantt. Headway with this problem began to be made in 
1885; it was "from 1885 to 1889" that the work went on 
of " making a series of practical tables ... by the aid of 
which it was possible to give definite tasks each day to the 
machinists who were running machines, and which resulted in 
a great increase in their output." ^ 

These years, then, brought him close to the realization 
of what he came to call his " central idea," or that of giving 
" each workman each day in advance a definite task, with de- 
tailed written instructions, and an exact time allowance for 
each element of the work." ^ 

His principle of written instructions, except as seen in his 
working up of standard practice for such things as the care 

^ On the Art of Cutting^ Metals, par. 43. ^ Ibid., par, 2. 


of boilers, was not highly developed at Mid vale. In some 
cases he appears to have used a combination instruction and 
time card 5 the same card was used to tell the workman what 
to do and to require him to make a return in writing o£ what 
he had done. There was only a rudimentary mechanism for 
recording and analyzing the progress of workj the following 
up mostly was done by a " chaser " or walking time-keeper 
who went around to check off what the men did. In short, 
there was here scarcely any refinement or elaboration of 
mechanism J and as a matter of fact, there was little necessity 
for it, since the shop was small (apparently in Taylor's day it 
never contained more than thirty machines) and the work done 
(mainly that of machining locomotive tires and car axles) was 
largely confined to a few operations of a simple and repetitive 
nature in which the machining time was much greater than the 
handling time. Also because of this lack of complexity, there 
was little need of the smooth coordination of mechanisms that 
Taylor later effected in his highly-organized planning room. 
At Midvale this coordination mainly was done in Taylor's 
own head. 

Mention surely must be made of the fact that at Midvale 
was hung up the first specimen of what was destined to be- 
come Taylor's famous shop bulletin-board, this having hooks 
on which to affix tags or slips showing the work ahead for 
each machine. That this board had to be protected by a glass 
case to keep men from tearing off the tags, bespeaks the op- 
position Taylor encountered on every hand because of that well 
known " antipathy to innovation." And the fact was that the 
object it served of keeping work flowing was strictly in the in- 
terests of the piece workers in the measure that it prevented 
them from losing time by having to wait for a new job upon 
the completion of an old.^ 

^ It illustrates what is brought by the whirligig of time that several years 
after Taylor's death the head of a labor union remarked at a private dis- 


Thus far we have seen that, with Taylor's deliberation 
inevitably leading to experimentation, and this latter work 
leading in its turn to standardization, his problem of main- 
taining standards was essentially a problem in system build- 
ing. But here now is the fact that no system of management 
is self-operating, that to operate any such system you must 
have an organized body of persons. This being so, it will be 
seen that Taylor's problem of maintaining standards was not 
merely a problem in system building, but was also and at the 
same time a problem in organization building. 

cussion that his opposition to piece work in his particular industry (one 
notorious for its labor troubles) was partly due to the fact that it would be 
impossible to figure out how piece workers should be compensated for the 
time during which they stood around waiting for new jobs as long as the 
employers were not enlightened enough to utilize the Taylor mechanism that 
reduced such waiting to the minimum. 



THE fact is, of course, that system and organization 
are each necessary for the working of the other. 
An organization, in the sense we here are consider- 
ing it, has been well defined as " a collection of persons working 
together for a common end." But before you can collect per- 
sons and get them to work together, you must have some plan 
or scheme, with appropriate mechanism, for directing or man- 
aging their efforts. 

This will clearly appear when we consider that organiza- 
tion as an act or art can be defined as " the division of the work 
to be done into defined tasks, and the assignment of those 
tasks to individuals qualified by training and natural char- 
acteristics for their efficient accomplishment." 

While it may be proper to speak of " the division of the 
work to be done into defined tasks " as organizing the work, 
this is because organize and systemize sometimes are inter- 
changeable terms. It is certain that as you divide the work 
in this way, you are not building up an organization, but the 
system which is the prerequisite to an organization. 

It is when you come to assign your " defined tasks to in- 
dividuals qualified by training and natural characteristics for 
their efficient accomplishment " that you proceed from system- 
building to organization-building. 

It may be said that Taylor's system-building began as he 
resorted to the method of issuing to his men the detailed 
instructions in writing which constituted their well-defined 
tasks. No sooner had he done this than he was confronted 



by the necessity of assigning the tasks to men who were quali- 
fied for them. Thus organization-building had to attend his 
system-building from the very outset. 

Not only this, but involved in his system was organization- 
building of the most intensive kind. Your defined tasks, as 
we have seen, should be assigned to persons qualified for 
them, not only by natural characteristics, but also by training. 

Here the attitude of the ordinary manager is likely to be 
that of looking for people someone else has trained. But as 
the tasks set by Taylor were so clearly defined and thus 
raised such high standards of accomplishment, he simply had 
to train his own. And this training, this patient teaching and 
development of employees, he came to regard of such im- 
portance that he established it as one of the four most funda- 
mental principles of Scientific Management. 

Just as Taylor's method of setting tasks for his men was 
only the beginning of his system-building, so, of course, the 
selection and training of workmen that this made necessary 
was only the beginning of his organization-building. 

And this brings us to a factor in the art of organization 
which, though implied in the definition given, was not there 
specifically stated j this factor or principle being that all the 
defined tasks into which you divide work must be within the 
capacity of individual attainment, and more especially within 
the capacities of the individuals available for appointment to 
your tasks. 

We may be sure that Taylor set no tasks for his men that 
were not well within their individual capacities as they were 
naturally fitted for and were trained in the tasks. But what 
about the task he^ the foreman or manager y set for himself 
when he assumed the duty of setting those tasks for his men? 

It was not only that this involved the responsibility of select- 
ing and training the men, and of seeing that a new job with 
the proper instructions was ready for each man as soon as he 


finished the one upon which he was working, and of seeing 
that the men understood their instructions and started in 
right, and of seeing that no man was prevented from doing 
his work in the allotted time by any default in the condition 
or supply of his equipment and materials. In addition to all 
this, there rested upon Taylor the burden of looking out for 
the quality of the work done by the men, of keeping their 
time, and of maintaining discipline among them. 

Now, the fact is that in all this there was scarcely a thing 
which every foreman was not supposed to do to some extent. 
Every foreman was supposed to see that the piece-rates were 
accurate and just, to see that all the men were suited to their 
jobs, to assign work to the men and keep track of the work 
through the shop, to give the men more or less instruction, 
to see that all the machinery was kept in good condition, to 
see that all the men were kept busy, and so on and so forth. 
This signifies that in these years — the early i88o's — the 
position of foreman, at least in every sizable machine shop, 
already had become an impossible one in the sense that in con- 
nection with it there had developed a great many mor^ duties 
than could be thoroughly discharged by any man not a 

We shall the better understand how this came about, if we 
consider something of how industrial organization itself came 
about j and as we do this, albeit in a very sketchy way, it in- 
cidentally should help to make plain that in all particulars 
Taylor's work represented but an intensification and accelera- 
tion of that progressive movement by which man throughout 
the ages has steadily increased his power over nature. 

The emphasis frequently placed on manual or muscular 
work in production is a false one. From the beginning our 
wealth mainly has come from the application to nature of in- 
tellect. And the triumphs of the intellect in production have 
all along taken two forms: first, the development of tools and 


skill in handlings second, the development of organization and 
skill in directing. 

We may say that the development of tools began when 
man abandoned stone implements for metal. We may say that 
industrial organization began when it was discovered that two 
or more men working together by dividing the work could 
produce more than the total they produced when each worked 
by himself j the explanation of this phenomenon lying in the 
fact that, as work is divided, it permits the individual to stick 
to some one part of it and thus not only save the time spent 
in passing from one part to another, but also, through special- 
ization in this one part, to develop a skill or expertness which 
otherwise would be impossible for him. 

The first industrial organization was what we now call the 
social organization J it pertained to society's activities as a 
whole and, Topsy-like, grew up " just naturally." And 
until modern industry began, the division of work scarcely 
proceeded further than was represented by the self -directed 
specialization of individuals in the making of particular prod- 
ucts such as clothing and shoes, or in the performance of 
particular classes of work such as goldsmithing and black- 

What gave rise to modern industry was the development of 
those tools we now call labor-saving machinery. Previously 
the individual had, as the saying is, worked for himself. Now, 
to take advantage of the labor-saving machinery, workers be- 
came aggregated in factories j and as this occurred, work had 
to be deliberately organized j that is, in accordance with a 
thought-out or predetermined plan or system. 

Thus the specialization in the making of particular prod- 
ucts which previously had been undertaken by individuals was 
now undertaken by organizations within the social organiza- 
tion, and so there came about a subdivision of work that 
practically amounted to a division in accordance with a new 


principle: work now began to be divided in accordance with 
the 'particular junctions y processes y operations ^ or steps in- 
volved in its performancey whatever might be the nature of 
the goods produced. 

Take, for example, the manufacture of pins, one of the 
earliest cases of quantity production effected by labor-saving 
machinery. Babbage's Economy of Machinery and Manu- 
facture shows that this particular manufacture, as early prac- 
ticed, involved these things: (i) drawing wirej (2) straight- 
ening wirej (3) pointing j (4) twisting and cutting the heads j 
(5) headings (6) tinning or whitening j (7) papering. 

This means that deliberation upon the work of manufactur- 
ing pins proved that it was made up of seven processes or 
steps which, though interconnected, were not only readily 
distinguishable by the mind, but also readily separable in 
practice. Deliberation also proved that the performance of 
these various processes called for various degrees of mental 
and physical ability. For example, drawing the wire called 
for a man's strength, while straightening the wire could be 
done by a woman or a girl. Clearly, then, it was of ad- 
vantage to split the work up into these various processes j for, 
as Babbage pointed out, 

. . . the master manufacturer, by dividing the work into different 
processes, each requiring different degrees of skill and force, can 
purchase exactly that precise quantity of both which is necessary for 
each process; whereas, if the whole work were executed by one work- 
man, that person must possess sufficient skill to perform the most 
difficult and sufficient strength to execute the most laborious of the 
operations into which the work is divided. 

Here appears the economic principle, practiced by none 
more consistently than Taylor, that none of the time of higher- 
priced labor should be devoted to work that can be done by 
lower-priced labor. Then, again, as you deliberate upon the 


organization of work, it must be revealed that the more you 
divide the work into its elementary processes or steps, the more 
simple will be the tasks you set for performance by individuals, 
and the easier it thus will be for you to find individuals who 
can attain expertness in your tasks through specialization. 

But now let us examine Babbage's phrase, " the master 
manufacturer." This harks back to the days when, for the 
most part, factories were personally conducted by their owners, 
who usually were workmen of superior intelligence, industry, 
thrift, and enterprise. In most cases also, while factories re- 
mained small and their machinery primitive, the owner con- 
tinued to ply his trade at the same time that he directed the 
general work, just as we see to-day in barber-shops where there 
is a boss-barber employing assistants. 

However, as machinery developed and the factory became 
larger, the master-workman had to give all his time to di- 
recting the general work, so that he ceased to be a workman 
and became a master or boss pure and simple. And here 
occurred what really was the primary division of work ac- 
cording to the principle of function, process, operation, or 
step: the junction of directing or managing the work became 
segregated from the function of executing it. 

Now, the function of managing can be analyzed into two 
principal sub-functions: that of planning the work, and that 
of seeing to its execution, or of leading, guiding, instructing, 
and inspiring the executors or manual workers. And in the 
distinction between these two sub-functions, which has become 
clearer and clearer, we have the ultra-modern distinction be- 
tween management engineer and the executive. 

From the beginning, the master or boss — that is, the 
manager — had to plan the work in the sense that he had 
deliberately to organize or systemize it. For some time, how- 
ever, his planning problem was simple j the factory being 
small, and the tools, both hand and machine, being simple. 


It was as machinery developed that the manager's planning 
problem became ever more complex. 

The development of machinery meant the production o£ 
goods in larger and larger quantities, and it proved, as things 
worked out on the whole, that these larger quantities only 
had to be produced to be absorbed. Hence the factory in- 
creased in size — workers became aggregated in them in 
larger and larger units — and this increase of size by itself 
gave impetus to the division of work into its elementary 

In addition to this, the development of machinery was 
along two principal lines j the first represented by the de- 
signing of machines for dealing with more and more of the 
processes into which work can be split up, and the second 
represented by the designing of machines to work with greater 
and greater degrees of automaticity. Thus machinery as a 
whole became more and more complex — that is, made up of 
more and more kinds of machines — and at the same time 
the individual machine became more and more complex, or 
made up of more and more parts. This in turn made the 
work of operating machinery more and more complex, and so 
compelled greater and greater degrees of specialization among 
machine operatives. 

Naturally, the more complex work becomes — the more 
it is made up of segregated but interdependent parts or proc- 
esses — the more complex becomes the problem of managing 
it. In its broadest terms the problem is to have each part 
well performed as a distinct entity, and at the same time so 
organize all the parts as to compel each to act as an efficient 
part of the whole, a problem analogous to the problem of 
mechanical design, or " the science of dividing the conception 
of a machine to perform a main purpose into definite parts, 
each of which performs a lesser function in the furtherance 
of this main purpose." 


All along the increasing complexity of management had 
been met by dividing the work up into more and more de- 
partments and sub-departments generally corresponding to 
processes or operations, placing a subordinate manager in 
charge of each of these divisions, and clothing him with 
plenitudinary authority over the workers in his division. And 
so grew up what Taylor came to call the military type of 

In the lectures that, beginning in 1909, he gave at Har- 
vard's Graduate School of Business Administration, he dealt 
thoroughly with this type of organization j choosing for his 
illustration an engineering establishment " producing a some- 
what miscellaneous lot of machinery, for the reason that this 
type of manufacture calls for, in most respects, the most 
elaborate kind of organization." After referring to such 
departments as engineering (or department of design), pur- 
chasing, manufacturing, and sales, he continued: 

To illustrate further this mihtary type of organization; the super- 
intendent in charge of the manufacture of the machines would ordi- 
narily divide the manufacturing department into a number of sub- 
departments, such as the machine shop, blacksmith shop, pattern shop, 
foundry, erecting shop, etc., and at the head of each of these depart- 
ments would be placed either a superintendent or foreman according 
to the size of the establishment. Again, the superintendent at the 
head of each of these departments, as, for instance, the head of the 
machine shop, would place a number of foremen or gang bosses in 
charge of different sections of the shop. In a properly-designed 
and well-built machine shop, all the machines of a certain type and 
size would be located in a group together; as, for instance, all large 
planers in one group, small in another; milling machines in one 
section of the shop, and drill presses in another; and so forth, and a 
foreman or gang boss would be placed in command of each of these 
groups of machines. If each of these groups contains a large number 
of machines, it would then be desirable to have one or more sub- 
foremen or gang bosses placed in charge of sections of the groups; 


and finally, each of these gang bosses would be in personal command 
of the small group of workmen directly under him. Each of these 
workmen would receive all of his orders and all of his directions 
and instructions from the one gang boss over him. 

And, as you know, one of the cardinal principles of the military 
type of management is that every man in the organization shall re- 
ceive his orders directly through the one superior officer who is over 
him. If the general superintendent of the works wants to give an 
order to a particular workman, instead of going directly to the work- 
man and telling him what to do, he transmits his order in proper 
form through the various officers under him to the workman, in the 
same way that orders through a general in command of a division 
are transmitted through colonels, majors, captains, lieutenants and 
non-commissioned officers, to the men. 

Years of experience with this type of management have emphasized 
the necessity for the orderly transmission of directions from the supe- 
rior officer to his immediate subordinates, etc., so that it has become a 
cardinal principle, in fact a proverb, that " no man can serve two 
masters." The military type of management has become so familiar 
to us in our every-day lives that it is difficult for us at first to realize 
the possibility even of the existence of any other type.^ 

In his paper of 1903, Shop Management^ Taylor referred 
to the grouping of machine-tools according to kind and the 
placing of an assistant foreman or gang boss in charge of each 
group, as an attempt to make f oremanship " more effective " 
by demanding " a smaller range of experience and less diversity 
of knowledge " from foremen in general. The gang boss, 
however, was " called upon to perform duties of almost as 
great variety as those of the foreman himself," and this was 
because, like the foreman himself, he was clothed, under the 
" military " type of organization, with plenitudinary authority 
over the workers in his division, or, as Taylor expressed it, 
he was expected to " command the men under him in all 

^ Quoted from manuscript Taylor prepared as a basis for his lectures. 


It is true that in Shop Management and in his Harvard 
lectures Taylor spoke from the point of view of the 1900's, 
and that in the early i88o's, when he began his own fore- 
man's career, there was not such a high development of ma- 
chinery and the foreman's job in consequence was not quite 
so complicated. Nevertheless, the difference in degree was 
not very great j then, as later, the ordinary foreman could 
make only a feeble or superficial attempt to discharge all the 
duties he was so supposed to discharge/ 

As a matter of fact, the theory on which the foreman 
worked was that the men under him knew their trade, and it 
could be left almost entirely to them to select their imple- 
ments and methods. What Taylor called the " final problem " 
of doing the work was put up to the workman. Some as- 
sistance the workman might get from the foreman, but not 
much. Usually the only work the foreman attempted to 
supervise with any care was new, especially difficult, or very 
important work. In general, the workman was left to his 
own devices J and if he did not come up to the foreman's 
personal standard, he usually was quickly fired j little attempt 
being made to teach or train him. 

But Fred Taylor was not content to be an ordinary fore- 
man. Every duty, every responsibility, every function he was 
supposed to discharge, he would discharge, and that thor- 
oughly. And this brings us back to the question as to the 
task he assumed. He was not an ordinary person. He was 
quite extraordinary. But could even such a person as he 
measure up to such a job? The answer is that, if only because 
of the limitation put upon the individual by time, he could 
not J and it was as he was made to realize this that he un- 
consciously began to develop a new type of organization. 

'^ In Shop Management (p. 96) Taylor lists the duties supposed to be dis- 
charged by a gang- boss under the ordinary type of management, with the object 
of showing that they call for qualities which, if they ever were all found in 
any one man, would entitle him to be made the superintendent of the works. 



FOR one who was a glutton for responsibility, and had, 
by his habit of getting practical results, demonstrated 
to his employer that they could leave him to follow his 
own head, what Taylor did as he found that he could not 
thoroughly discharge all of his foreman's duties was the most 
natural thing in the world: he employed assistants. And it 
was as he pursued this course that he developed a new type 
of organization. 

The beginning of this appears when he employed a man 
to make time studies. Eventually to this man was assigned 
the duty of writing out the instruction cards on which, in ac- 
cordance with the data accumulated by the time studies, the 
workmen were told in detail what to do and the time they 
should take. But here is the fact that, to assign daily to 
each workman a carefully-measured task, you must lay out 
the work in advance. As Taylor could not definitely plan 
ahead unless he had before him data showing just what work 
had been done, he, among other things, got the workmen 
each day to make returns in writing. And so he selected a 
man to help him plan ahead, at least to the extent of making 
out the tickets on which the workmen recorded what they 
had done, and seeing that no man neglected doing this and 
doing it properly. 

From our present vantage-ground it is plain that what he 
did as he employed these assistants was to detach from his 
work as foreman certain specific duties or functions and assign 
them to men who were free to specialize in themj which is to 



say that he acted on the principle of segregating the work of 
the foreman or manager by function. 

At Midvale he split up his manager's work still further, and 
later on, when he had become what is called nowadays a con- 
sulting engineer in management, he was led further and 
further to divide and sub-divide the work of management j 
and so grew up what is now termed the functional type of or- 
ganization to distinguish it from the military type. 

We call the functional type new. We have seen, however, 
that as work began to be deliberately organized, it began to 
be divided in accordance with the particular functions, proc- 
esses or operations involved in its performance. Hence the 
organization of work from the beginning was in the nature of 
segregation by function 5 and this being so, it follows that 
Taylor's course in developing his new type represented but 
a forward step in the natural evolution of industrial organiza- 
tion, and it is permissible to call it new only in the sense that 
a difference in degree can amount to a difference in kind. 

All progressive evolution, whether industrial or biological, 
is indeed nothing more than an advance in organization from 
simpler to more complex forms. " Biological progress," says 
Professor Conklin of Princeton, " means increasing complexity 
of structure and functions, increasing specialization, and co- 
operation of the parts and activities of organisms, and human 
progress, whether physical, intellectual or social, means no 
more and no less than this." 

What Taylor did first of all, by reason of his thorough- 
ness and force in defining tasks and setting high standards of 
accomplishment, was to make the segregation of work by 
function far sharper. 

It has been said that the primary division of work in ac- 
cordance with function was the segregation of the function of 
managing it from the function of executing it. The fact is, 
however, that in the i88o's even this primary segregation re- 


mained incomplete and indistinct, as will be recognized when 
we recall that the function of managing work involves the two 
sub-functions of planning it and of seeing to its execution, but 
that in the i88o's a great deal of the planning still was left 
to the executors or manual workers. As a matter of fact, the 
typical manager of that period put all the emphasis on his 
executive function 5 he was very little of a planner, very little 
of an engineer/ 

The general failure up to this time sharply to define and 
segregate functions signifies that the deliberate organization 
of work had not gone far. On its own function and- the sub- 
functions involved in it, management hardly had begun to 
deliberate at all. It had not yet attained the self -conscious- 
ness which is the prerequisite to self-analysis. 

In 1912, after the railroad-rate hearings had created wide 
interest in this general subject, A. Hamilton Church, a con- 
sulting engineer, said: 

Scientific men tell us that the great difference between a savage 
race and a highly civilized one is that the former remains in a con- 
dition of natural innocence, and the latter has arrived at self -con- 
sciousness. This, I think, is the real state of affairs in regard to 
engineering. We are passing from a stage in vv^hich there was a 

^ The proposition that the work of planning naturally belongs to manage- 
ment rests not only on the fact that the planning should be based on due 
investigation conducted with the expertness that comes from specialization, but 
also, and perhaps mainly, on the fact that economy dictates that the planning 
should be done in advance. Obviously the manager, as the first step in any 
enterprise, must plan in advance if only to the extent of determining what 
work is to be done and of preparing for its execution by providing a suitable 
workplace with its equipment. If he waited to do this until the executors were 
collected, there would be delay in their getting to work and a loss of their 
time. And this axiom holds good throughout: in proportion to the extent which 
work is planned, before its execution is attempted ivill time be solved in its exe- 
cution. A large part of the results Taylor obtained as an economist was due 
to his extension of pre-planning to the small details of the shop, thus avoiding 
those " incidental delays " which occur when workers are left to chase up their 
tools and materials and see that they are in proper condition, and especially 
when workers are left to form little debating societies to decide upon their 
methods. Really it all comes down to the homely old adage: first plan your 
work, then work your plan. 


simple and unconscious following of tradition, into a stage of self- 
consciousness in which we are moved to subject our habits and our 
motives to severe self -scrutiny, and examine afresh every item of our 
daily practice. It is a very painful stage to have arrived at. Most 
of us are so content with our comfortable natural innocence that 
we do not like to part with it, but it is the process that, once com- 
menced, must continue.^ 

That the events which led to this awakening were shaping 
in the i88o's, we cannot doubt. If the typical manager of 
this period was very little of a planner or engineer, the fact 
is that as long as machinery remained comparatively simple, 
he did not have to be. With the increasing complexity of ma- 
chinery that began in the i88o's came an increasing complexity 
of knowledge pertaining to its operation as well as to its 
designing J knowledge has only to attain a certain degree of 
complexity to compel its reduction to a science; the rank and 
file of employees, though they may and to a large extent 
needs must participate in the reduction of their work to a 
science, cannot direct itj this task must be undertaken by the 
single force we call the management j and as management does 
undertake this task, it must become aroused to all its duties, 
responsibilities, and functions. 

Looking at it from this angle, we see that Taylor assumes 
the aspect simply of a manager of such thoroughness and force 
that he leaped from a quarter to a half century ahead of the 
crowd of managers, and did more than any other one indi- 
vidual to wake management up and blaze a trail for it to 

It is plain that his work in sharply defining and segregating 
functions began when, that he might be able to establish 
scientific standards of accomplishment for his men, he relieved 
them of all the work of planning and concentrated it in him- 

^ From Mr. Church's discussion at the A.S.M.E. of the committee report 
on " The Present State of the Art of Industrial Management." 


self, the manager. Thereby he committed himself to the 
principle that planning is one function and execution distinctly 
another one, and here was a division of duty as sweeping as 
it was definite. And it was mainly because of his concentration 
of all the planning in management that he was compelled to 
divide and sub-divide its work. 

Taylor called the first two men whom he employed to 
help him with his foreman's work the instruction-card clerk 
and the time clerk. Being clerical workers, these men had to 
have desks, and naturally these desks were placed in juxta- 
position with the time-study records that were accumulating. 
So here, visible to the naked eye, was the crude beginning of 
a department destined to become the most conspicuous feature 
of the Taylor System j namely, the planning department. 

Planning [says J. E. Otterson] is a function of an engineer- 
ing order, and execution is a function of an executive order. In 
mih'tary organization this distinction is recognized in the staff and 
h'ne. . . . Staff work and engineering work grow in importance 
with the complexity of the problem. As the problem becomes more 
and more complex it becomes more and more difficult for those con- 
cerned with the development of the plan to devote their time and 
energies to its execution; and, in turn, for those concerned with its 
execution to devote their time and energies to the formulation or 
development of the plan. 

A study of any phase of the operations of the late war [during 
which the machinery of warfare attained a complexity previously un- 
dreamed of] will show the increased importance in modern warfare 
of the staff or planning department, and the disposition to separate 
execution or production from planning.^ 

Because of the close analogy between the planning depart- 
ment of Taylor's industrial organization and the staff work of 
military organization, it has been suggested that Taylor was 

^ Paper printed in T/te Annals of the American Academy of Political and 
Social Science, September, 1919. 


not quite fortunate in designating the old type of industrial 
organization the " military " type to distinguish it from his 
functional type. That, however, he had in mind a distinction 
carrying with it a great difference, will be evident from what 
happened at Midvale when his instruction-card clerk became 
expert in his special duty. 

As the instructions on these cards were based on the scientific 
data that had been developed concerning the men's work, 
there was no reason why they should not be sent to the men 
directly and they were so sent. Plainly these cards served as 
the workmen's orders. But these orders did not go to the 
workmen either from or through Taylor^ their foreman^ and 
neither did they reach the workmen through the assistant 
foreman who was called the gang boss. Thus here was a 
violation of the old principle, whether you call it military or 
not — perhaps it would be better to call it bureaucratic — that 
no man shall receive an order except from or through his im- 
mediate superior. 

Again this principle was violated in the case of the time 
clerk whose special duty it was to see that the workmen made 
proper returns of what they did each day, and it was even 
more clearly violated when Taylor trained a man for the 
special duty of inspecting the workj it being this inspector's 
duty not merely to determine whether the work as finally 
done was up to standard, but first of all to explain to the men 
the engineering drawings and the exact quality of the work 
required — the kind of finish and degree of accuracy — and 
then to see that the men got started right by inspecting their 
first pieces. And as Taylor continued to develop his func- 
tional organization, especially after leaving Midvale, where 
he hardly grasped its import, the workmen became subject to 
more and more " bosses." 

What, then, it may be asked, did Taylor do to the good 
old proverb that no man can serve two masters? The answer 


is that though, to all appearances, men under the functional 
type of organization are required to serve, not merely two, 
but three or four or more masters, it is in the appearance only. 
Actually they serve but onej and as we are able to grasp this, 
we shall be able to comprehend Taylor's work in its higher 
significance and understand the man as few understood him 
during his lifetime. 

We quote from the manuscript he prepared for his Har- 
vard lectures, the italics being his: 

You realize, of course, that the military type of management has 
been here entirely abandoned, and that each one of these functional 
foremen is king over his particular function; that is, king over the 
f articular class of acts which he understands, and which he directs; 
and that not only all of the workmen throughout the place obey the 
orders of this functional foreman in his limited sphere, but that every 
other functional foreman obeys his orders in this one resfect. 

Thus we have a radically new, and what at first appears exceedingly 
confusing state of things, in which every man, foreman as well as 
workman, receives and obeys orders from many other men, and in the 
case of the various functional foremen they continually give orders 
in their own particular line to the very men from whom they are 
receiving orders in other lines. For this reason the work of the Plan- 
ning Department represents an intricate mass of interwoven orders 
or directions, proceeding backward and forward between the men in 
charge of the various functions of management. 

By the term king, Taylor meant to signify a man whose 
orders must be obeyed. But whereas the " military " king's 
orders must be obeyed in every particular, plenitudinary power 
being vested in him by virtue of the position he holds, the 
functional king's orders must be obeyed only in a certain 
limited particular, and this by virtue of the knowledge he 
holds. That is to say, the functional boss gives orders only 
as, through specialization, he is expert in some particular form 
or part of knowledge, and by the same token, he must take 


orders from those who are expert in other forms or parts of 
knowledge. And so the seeming confusion is resolved: actu- 
ally there is only one master, one bossj namely, knowledge. 
This, at all events, was the state of things Taylor strove to 
bring about in industry. He there spent his strength trying 
to enthrone knowledge as king. 

And this explains the emphasis he put upon " intimate, 
friendly cooperation." Knowledge can rule in an organization 
only as its members work together democratically. Each 
member must play into the hands of all the other members. 
To do this, he must appreciate the parts played by others, and 
see his own in its true relation to theirs. But it is not enough 
that he have this appreciation of parts in the abstract. He 
must have a friendly feeling for the persons who play those 
other parts. 

The idea of cooperation, with all the democracy that in- 
volves, entered into the warp and woof of Taylor's whole 
philosophy of life. When, in 1907, the Engineering News 
published a tribute to his work in revolutionizing the art of 
cutting metals, he, in protesting to the editor that too much 
credit had been given him personally, wrote: " I feel strongly 
that work of any account, in order to be done rightly, should 
be done through true cooperation, rather than through the 
individual effort of any one manj and, in fact, I should feel 
rather ashamed of any achievement in which I attempted to 
do the whole thing myself." 

That all the particular tasks which contribute to the ac- 
complishment of a general task are equally worthy of respect} 
that one man is indeed as good as another as he flays his fart 
as well as the other man flays his; that as the other fellow 
plays his part he is serving you as well as himself and there- 
fore stands to you in the relation, not of non-ego, but of alter 
ego — this with Taylor was not simply a matter of intellectual 
conviction, but of deep, subjective, emotional belief. 


It is significant that he had comparatively little difficulty 
in " selling " his principles and methods to working people. 
His own estimate was that nine-tenths of his troubles were with 
men in the management. As he extended his functional prin- 
ciple to management, it acted on the typical foreman or 
manager of his day " as the proverbial red rag on the bull." ^ 
Doubtless in many cases the foreman honestly feared that 
his usefulness was being contracted. 

This is, however [said Taylor], a theoretical difficulty, which dis- 
appears when they [the functional foremen] really get into the full 
swing of their new positions. In fact, the new position demands an 
amount of special information, forethought, and a clear-cut, definite 
responsibility that they have never even approximated in the past, and 
which is amply sufficient to keep all of their best faculties and energies 
alive and fully occupied.^ 

Again he said: 

I am quite sure that many of you will question whether the func- 
tional foreman and the men who together constitute the planning 
room are not narrowed by the small range of their duties. I can 
assure you, however, that directly the opposite is true. While their 
duties are confined to a very much smaller field, still in their par- 
ticular field much, very muchy is demanded of the men, and it is our 
experience that when a man once becomes thorough in his knowledge 
and in the practice of this knowledge he becomes eager and ambitious 
for more knowledge of this thorough kind.^ 

He also pointed out that men who are fitted for it can 
learn more than one function and so become eligible for posi- 
tions as general managers or superintendents, and that a man 
becomes " truly broad in the measure that he gets into real 
touch with the vital, underlying facts and laws of the 

■^ Shop Management, p. 107. 
^ Ibid.y p. 145. 
^ Harvard lectures. 


For the light it will throw on the intensely human dramas 
that were played wherever Taylor appeared as a consulting 
engineer, it is important that we have a just conception of the 
effect of his functional principle upon management positions 
of the higher or general type, and to obtain such a conception 
it is necessary that we understand something of the functional 
principle's psychological basis. 



BY some of his acquaintances, Taylor was considered to 
be as weak in such sciences as those of psychology and 
physiology as he was strong in such sciences as those of 
engineering and chemistry. Undoubtedly he was at his best 
when he had tangible things to cope with. 

As its laws bear on economy of production or conservation 
of human or material energy, every science must play a part 
in a science of management 5 and when we consider organiza- 
tion, we find that the part played by psychology is a leading 
one, since the division of work should not be arbitrary, but 
be in accordance with the natural capabilities of men. 

However weak may have been Taylor's grasp of the laws 
of this science even in his later years, when such a science really 
had begun to be developed, it yet would appear that his or- 
ganization building at all times was deeply psychological, by 
reason of his practical experience with men, his intuition, and 
of what he learned from " trial and error." 

As he got his instruction cards working at Midvale, he and 
his gang boss ceased to originate the orders that went to the 
workmen. This means that their duty as foremen became 
largely restricted to seeing that the orders were carried out. 
Here, then, began to be established a sharp division of the 
work of management according to its principal sub-divisions of 
planning and execution; and it already had been noted that 
men can be divided into two correspondingly broad types j 
namely, the engineering and the executive. 



We find [indeed] these two types in all professions and human 
activities and at all stages and levels thereof. . . . 

For example, we have lawyers of the legal engineering type whose 
success rests upon their technical knowledge of the law and who ap- 
proach a legal problem very much as an engineer approaches an engi- 
neering problem. In the same way we have lawyers of the executive 
type, whose success rests upon their ability to handle a case in court 
with the material furnished them by the legal engineer. . . . 

In the medical profession we find the same condition to exist. We 
find medical engineers engaged in scientific study, research and diag- 
nosis, and medical executives engaged in the application of medical 
and surgical laws to a vast number of current cases, or medical ex- 
ecutives engaged in the management of sanitariums and hospitals.^ 

If, in basing his industrial organization on a sharp division 
of duty along the two general lines of planning and execution, 
Taylor wrought in accord with natural law, this should en- 
courage us to believe that as he split up both the planning 
and executive functions into sub-functions, he continued to 
work along psychological lines, in that his sub-functions fell 
into groups, each of which required for its performance a dis- 
tinct type of mind or form of capability naturally existing. 

The analysis by which he determined the functions of man- 
agement and their scope and interrelations was with him a 
labor of years j it being subject to correction and extension. 

As he split up the old-time foreman's planning function into 
various sub-functions, the men assigned to these functions 
became generally known as clerks, this arising naturally from 
the fact that their duties generally were clerical.^ And be- 

^ J. E. Otterson. 

^ As Taylor developed his system, the leading men in his planning- 
department became in many cases high-priced specialists. Despite this, he con- 
tinued to refer to them generally as clerks, evidently from old force of habit 
in calling things by their commonest names, especially the terms current in 
the shop during the days of his first-hand contact w^ith industry. He had, 
moreover, a deep seated aversion to all high-sounding titles. In these latter 
days, however, the term clerk has generally been dropped in connection w^ith 
the higher planning officials. 


cause the planning function is generally clerical, requiring for 
its discharge desks, files, etc., and because also of the close 
interrelation of its sub-functions, the distinct entity known as 
the planning department represented not only the segregation 
of the planning function but also its localization. 

In a work of this kind we of course cannot undertake any- 
thing resembling a thorough exposition of Taylor's planning 
department. Suffice it here to say, that under his direction 
it eventually came to include seven distinct types of clerks: 
production, route, balance of stores, instruction card and time 
study, order of work, recording, and cost accounting j the 
limiting title in each case signifying a particular planning 
function, or some duty auxiliary to it. 

As, on the other hand, the old-time foreman's executive 
function was split up, the men who discharged these sub- 
functions retained the general title of bossj and of these there 
came to be four types respectively known as repair, gang, 
speed, and inspector. Shop-floor agents of the planning men, 
Taylor called these executive men. 

Other functions he defined were of a general type, or 
auxiliary to both the planning and the executive functions, 
as in the case of his shop disciplinarian, who was placed in 
charge of all the " hiring and firing " and was the forerunner 
of the modern employment or personnel manager. 

Of course Taylor did not define functions with the idea 
that there necessarily must be a man for each function. He 
recognized that, as businesses vary in nature or in size, one 
man may perform two or more functions, or one function may 
be performed by two or more men. Here, in fact, arises the 
distinction between system and organization. The defmiUon 
of functions pertains to the laying out of a system j the assign- 
ment of functions to the building of an organization to work 
the system. 

Taylor defined the functions of management as he reflected 


on the particular things it was necessary for it to do so as to 
discharge its general task with the maximum economy/ In 
practice he assigned these functions with a view to giving no 
man more work than he could handle thoroughly and ex- 
peditiously. At the same time it is to be recognized that in 
practice system and organization are inseparable j and it fol- 
lows from this that, while economic considerations primarily 
must govern the definition of functions, psychological con- 
siderations also must enter into it immediately^ which is to 
say that as it is the mission of functions to be performed, they 
must be defined with a view to their performance. Certainly 
the organization must fit the system, and the system the or- 

Since Taylor's death progress has been made in the analysis 
of functions as in other features of his work. This very 
progress, however, serves to indicate that, in defining the sub- 
functions of the planning and executive functions, he con- 
tinued to work along psychological lines. 

Nowadays it is generally held by close students of Taylor's 
work that every task naturally breaks down into the five prin- 
cipal functions of planning, preparation, scheduling, produc- 
tion, and inspection J each of these representing a distinct step 
in the progress of work from purpose to accomplishment, and 
each requiring for its performance a distinct type of mind. 

In this narrower sense, planning is the determination of 
what is to be done and how, preparation refers to the provision 
of the equipment and all other facilities for the performance 
of the task (manifestly a distinct part of the how) \ scheduling 

^ One of the most interesting attempts at an exact and systematic state- 
ment of the economic laws governing the definition of functions is that made 
by Lieutenant G. J. Meyers in an article originally printed in the Journal of 
the American Society of Naval Engineers, and reprinted in Scientific Manage- 
ment {A Collection of the More Significant Articles Describing the Taylor 
System of Management), edited by C. B. Thompson, and published (1914) by 
the Harvard University Press. Lieutenant Meyers' article well illustrates that, 
in defining functions, Taylor did not invent them; that he simply segregated 
things which all along had been done by some one in some manner. 


is the determination of when the task is to be performed or 
when each of the things that enter into it is to be started j pro- 
duction is the actual doing of the work in accordance with the 
plan, through the application of force or energ^yj inspection is 
the determination of the satisf actoriness of the accomplishment 
in the light of the standard planned, and involves all devices 
for the checking up or judging of results. 

Planning, preparation, and scheduling, as thus defined, per- 
tain to the general planning or engineering function j produc- 
tion and inspection to the executive function. 

In the Taylor System, as applied, for example, to the shop 
of a machine-building establishment, the determination of 
what is to be made (that is, the specifications defining the 
physical object) is the function of the (mechanical) engineer- 
ing room, which prepares drawings for the product and some- 
times incidentally for any special machinery or tools that may 
be needed, and thus is really a section of the general planning 

The engineering room having determined this, it is the 
general function of the planning room to plan the production 
and to determine the preparation and the scheduling. 

The route man is concerned with the determination of the 
major plans relating to the provision and use of machines, 
tools, special equipment, and materials for doing each part 
of the work or operation concerned in it. The instruction 
card and time-study man is concerned with the determination 
of the detail methods to be followed in operating the ma- 
chinery and handling the tools and materials. 

On the other hand, the production man and the order-of- 
work man are concerned with the scheduling} the production 
man determining all the large matters in this connection, and 
the order-of-work man the details.^ 

^ For a detailed statement of the duties of these functional men see H. K. 
Hathaway's article on The Planning Defartment, reprinted in C. B. Thompson's 
Scientific Management. 


Turning now to the floor of the shop, we find that Taylor's 
gang boss and speed boss are both productionists, or men con- 
cerned with the actual carrying out of the plans j and there 
also is the inspector, who, if he incidentally acts as the shop- 
floor agent of the engineering room in interpreting the draw- 
ings to the executors or workmen, has for his main function 
the checking up of the accomplishment. 

Planning requires a studious mind with both analytical and 
synthetical power, or power of constructive imagination. 
Preparation requires a mind of the ingenious, inventive, re- 
sourceful type. Scheduling, essentially the making of a time 
table for dispatching, calls for a mind of the distinctly clerical 
type} orderly, with a fine sense of sequence, and fond of 
routine. The productionist should be aggressive, driving^ 
persistent} able to control men, to direct, guide, and lead 
them. The inspector must have an investigating mindj pa- 
tient, exact, precise, painstaking. 

A mind capable of performing only one of these five func- 
tions is an elementary one. As it is capable of performing 
two or more, it is complex. Commonly you find men capable 
of only one} frequently of two} occasionally of three} rarely of 
four} hardly ever of all five.^ 

Here, then, if we assume the correctness of this theory as 
to the way every task naturally breaks down and as to the 
natural capabilities of men, is evidence of the sound psycho- 
logical basis of Taylor's subdivision of the work of a shop. 
And it is to be understood that the theory in question not only 
represents an extensive observation, but also has met the 
test of an extensive practice. 

Now, in considering the effect of the functional principle 
upon management positions of the higher or general type, we 
must realize that this principle by no means applies solely to 
the shop, or to an organization specifically devoted to some 

^ For this statement of the case the writer is indebted to J. E. Otterson. 


form or process of manufacturing. These days it has come 
to be applied not only to each of the departmental organiza- 
tions within an establishment, but also to the organization as a 
whole. Every organization, whether it be an elementary one 
or one including within itself other organizations, must have 
a task, must exist for the accomplishment of certain definite 
results J must, in a broad sense, produce something. Conse- 
quently the general phenomena of one organization repeat 
themselves in all organizations. Whatever the task, it natu- 
rally breaks down into the principal functions of planning, 
preparation, scheduling, production, and inspection. As tasks 
differ, the specific things involved in each of these functions 
may differ, and the relative importance of the functions may 
differ, but the general nature of each remains the same. 

In his Harvard lectures, delivered toward the close of his 
life, Taylor said: 

More and more, as scientific management develops, are the pur- 
chasing, the sales, and the collection and advertising departments be- 
ing managed along functional lines. It must be said, however, that 
in the work of these departments, and in the sales department particu- 
larly, the military type of organization still predominates. 

He personally did not extend the functional principle much 
beyond the shop, and it was because of this that he drew from 
the shop practically all of his illustrations when describing its 
workings. But, as his words just quoted show, it is a mistake 
to argue from this that his vision was limited to the shop. 
Surely he would be gratified to know what has been done 
since his death to functionalize selling. 

Proceeding on the basis of the analysis of function here 
given, we must conclude that it is as a man is capable of more 
than one of these functions, or as his mind is complex, that he 
really is capable of holding the higher positions in manage- 
ment. The term general manager indeed implies one having 


an outlook upon all the steps in the accomplishment of an 
organization's task. 

Manifestly, this does not appear while the management 
remains at that stage represented by a simple and unconscious 
following of tradition. Thus, under traditional management, 
all the members of an organization can more or less readily 
make a bluff at filling their positions. And as greater com- 
plexity of mind is needed in proportion to the height of the 
position, and men of the greater complexity are comparatively 
rare, the likelihood of finding bluffers is increased the higher 
up you goj and this all the more because nepotism and other 
forms of favoritism are especially likely to dictate the choice 
of men for the higher positions. The moment, however, 
that a clear definition of functions begins, all bluffing is 
threatened 5 with this clear definition inevitably comes a pre- 
cise fixing of responsibility. 

It is true that the holder of a general position need not 
and cannot well be expert in all the functions his position 
overlooks. His position being general, he should concern 
himself with general principles and methods, and should not, 
as Taylor expressed it, " mess into the details." And Taylor 

The shop, and indeed the whole works, should be managed, not by 
the manager, superintendent, or foreman, but by the planning depart- 
ment. The daily routine of running the entire works should be car- 
ried on by the various functional elements of this department, so that, 
in theory at least, the works could run smoothly even if the manager, 
superintendent and their assistants outside the planning room were all 
to be away for a month at a time.^ 

Further light on Taylor's conception of the position of 
the general manager will be cast by what he wrote concerning 
a principle that was among his most important: 

^ Shof Management, p. no. 


What may be called the " exception principle " in management is 
coming more and more into use, although, like many of the other 
elements of this art, it is used in isolated cases, and in most in- 
stances without recognizing it as a principle which should extend 
throughout the entire field. It is not an uncommon sight, though a 
sad one, to see the manager of a large business fairly swamped at his 
desk with an ocean of letters and reports, on each of which he thinks 
that he should put his initial or stamp. He feels that by having this 
mass of detail pass over his desk he is keeping in close touch with the 
entire business. The exception principle is directly the reverse of this. 
Under it the manager should receive only condensed, summarized, and 
invariably comparative reports, covering, however, all of the elements 
entering into the management, and even these summaries should be 
carefully gone over by an assistant before they reach the manager, and 
have all of the exceptions to the past averages or to the standards 
pointed out, both the especially good and especially bad exceptions, 
thus giving him in a few minutes a full review of progress which is 
being made, or the reverse, and leaving him free to consider the 
broader lines of policy and to study the character and fitness of the 
important men under him.^ 

Here also is this statement from Taylor's Harvard lectures: 

The broad application of the exception principle is, of course, only 
possible with modern scientific management, in which everything is 
done in accordance with laws and rules; because if the workmen and 
the foremen are not working according to laws or rules, there is no 
standard, such as the task, which draws a sharp line between failure 
and success. If there are no rules, there can be no exceptions. 

The fact that the general manager must deal with these 
exceptions, " consider the broader lines of policy," and " study 
the character and fitness of the important men under him " 
clearly signifies that, while he need not be expert in all the 
functions his position overlooks, his mind should be sufficiently 
complex to comprehend all of them. He should have in him 

^ Ibid., p. 126. 


something of both the executive and the engineer. That in 
Taylor's day managers with any engineering training were 
few and far between, should by itself serve to explain most 
of his difficulties. 

But it was not only the bluffing manager who was antago- 
nized by the functional principle. Taylor's various statements 
about the effect of this principle on the position of the gen- 
eral manager all come down to the fact that functionalization 
means decentralization, or the removal of " local and special " 
functions from the general manager's immediate direction and 
control. Thus Taylor's insistence on this principle also an- 
tagonized the man who, trusting only himself, is fussily con- 
cerned about the work of others, and the man who wants to 
be the whole thing so that he may feel big. 

Lastly, as Taylor's functional principle stripped manage- 
ment positions of their plenitudinary authority, the general 
manager's along with the rest, and as it based all authority 
on knowledge and made the idea of authority entirely sub- 
ordinate to the idea of responsibility, it menaced every tyrant, 
or every man who would govern according to his caprice, his 
arbitrary will. 



HOW far he progressed with the functional principle at 
Midvale may be gathered from this quotation from his paper 
of 1903, Shop Management: ^ 

The writer introduced five of the elements of functional fore- 
manship into the management of the small machine shop of the Mid- 
vale Steel Company of Philadelphia while he was foreman of that 
shop in 1 882-1 883: (i) the instruction card clerk, (2) the time clerk, 
(3) the inspector, (4) the gang boss, and (5) the shop disciplinarian. 
Each of these functional foremen dealt directly with the workmen 
instead of giving their orders through the gang boss. The dealings 
of the instruction card clerk and time clerk with the workmen were 
mostly in writing, and the writer himself performed the functions of 
shop disciplinarian, so that it was not until he introduced the inspector, 
with orders to go straight to the men instead of the gang boss, that he 
appreciated the desirability of functional foremanship as a distinct 
principle of management. 

To this he immediately added: 

The prepossession in favor of the military type was so strong with 
the managers and owners of Midvale that it was not until years after 
functional foremanship was in continual use in this shop that he dared 
to advocate it to his superior officers as the correct principle. 

It is significant that in his paper of 1895, A Piece-Rate 
System, he said not a word about functional foremanship. 
The fact is that, probably owing to the bitter opposition it 
aroused, he himself was somewhat uncertain about it at this 

^ P. 107. 


time, and it was not until after he went to Bethlehem in 1898 
that all his doubts were removed. 

His instruction-card clerk and time clerk at Midvale com- 
posed what he called the rate-fixing department, and that, 
as a matter of fact, was all that his planning room then 
amounted to, save as it had existence in his own head. 

A " time note " found among his effects shows that he 
started to apply the principle of time study to the routine 
work of his rate-fixing office itself. One clerical task was 
resolved into such elements as " enter tires in records from 
standing order," " post wages earned by men on mills and 
fix bonus," and " file and put away records of finished tires," 
and a definite time was allowed for doing each of these things. 
Since Mr. Taylor's death there has been some discussion as to 
who first got the idea of applying his principles to office 
work J this " time note " shows that he himself had the idea 
back in the i88o's. 

Referring to his rate-fixing department, he wrote: 

This department far more than paid for itself from the very start; 
but it was several years before the full benefits of the system were 
felt, owing to the fact that the best methods of making and recording 
time observations of work done by the men, as well as of determining 
the maximum capacity of each of the machines in the place, and of 
making working-tables and time-tables, were not at first adopted.^ 

We come now to the details of the way he induced his men 
to perform the definite tasks that, with the development of 
his working tables and time tables, he was able to assign them. 

It already has appeared that he accomplished this mainly 
through the promise of high wages j and the fact is that as 
men started to work regularly in the new way of turning 
axles and tires, a piece rate was fixed for them that was de- 
signed, apparently, to enable them to earn regularly at least 

^ Ibid., p. 149. 


a third more than they had been earning. And here it is to 
be brought out that after the years during which he was con- 
tinually quarrelling with his men, it became his policy in 
dealing with workmen to avoid any reference to their doing 
more or better workj that is, he deliberately sought to fix 
their attention, not on what they were going to give, but on 
what they were going to get. 

In dealing with the high-grade mechanics at Midvale, he 
thoroughly explained the purposes of his innovations, and had 
no difficulty in enlisting their cooperation. As one of his old 
men has expressed it, his " scientific method of obtaining data " 
seemed to insure that the company would have " no reason- 
able grounds for cutting the rate." These highly intelligent 
men well understood why rate-cutting in the past often had 
been unavoidable, and were inclined to believe that Taylor's 
methods would enable them to earn higher wages ferma- 
nently. Moreover, suspicious as they might be of the whole 
race of employers, they knew that a Fred Taylor promise 
was valid. 

With the majority, however, he could not explain j they 
having an unreasoning fear of all innovation, or being opposed 
to all change as change, or having a well-nigh incurable be- 
lief (which you hardly could call unreasonable in view of their 
past experience) that as an employer would not introduce a 
change which was not in his interests, any change he sought 
to bring about must be against their interests. In dealing 
with these men, Taylor developed a definite technic and be- 
came a master hand in applying it. This lay along the lines 
of picking out one or two of the more intelligent and am- 
bitious, bringing all his powers of persuasion to bear on them 
to get them started, keeping them under firm pressure until 
they had grown accustomed to the new way of working, and 
then relying on the object lesson they afforded to win over 
the other men. 


Again we quote from the testimony taken by the Special 
House Committee J and when Mr. Taylor speaks, we shall be 
justified in picturing him with his mischievous little twinkle 
in his eye: 

The Chairman. Isn't it part of the scientific management, or the 
Taylor system, to bring all the powers of the management to bear on 
the individual in order to compel the individual to carry out the 
policy of the management? 

Mr. Taylor. With the first man whom you tackle in a shop and 
want to teach and bring from the old method of doing the work to 
the new method, as a rule, I think you can say that you do bring 
heavy pressure to bear on the man. You are very apt to put three or 
four teachers around him at once to see that he does not skip out from 
under anywhere. You understand, of course, that is true of the first 
man. Under scientific management our procedure is to get one man 
working under the new conditions and at the proper pace, and then 
let him go right on earning his premium of 30 per cent to 100 per 
cent until he wants the new system badly. And invariably some 
friend of his — generally not one friend only, but a dozen of them — 
will come and ask for the same thing. When the men see a friend 
of theirs, right alongside of them, working practically no harder 
than they are working, but merely obeying certain instructions and 
directions given him and thereby becoming more efficient and doing 
the work quicker — when they see that man getting 30 to 100 per 
cent higher wages than they are getting, they want some of that velvet. 
The other men throughout the shop themselves come and ask for the 
new system. When scientific management is properly introduced, 
almost invariably we wait for the men to come and ask to work under 
the new plan. 

He frequently was asked in later years how, in fixing 
premiums or bonuses for the accomplishment of his scientifi- 
cally-set tasks, he arrived at his figures of " from 30 to 100 
per cent." His answer was that this also had been the sub- 
ject of a scientific investigation, that he had determined by 
careful experiments that such were the percentages which 


would compensate men for the irksomeness involved In chang- 
ing their habits of working and would keep them contented 
and happy in the doing of their tasks. The range in the per- 
centage was due to the fact that it must be increased as the 
work done partook of the hard or disagreeable. Undoubtedly 
he did resort to some formal experimenting with various 
percentages, but that he was justified in calling these experi- 
ments scientific may fairly be open to question. It is certain, 
however, that his percentages were rational deductions from 
facts of observation and experience. 

Even before he had begun at Midvale to fix tasks based 
on scientific investigation, he hit upon that modification of 
the " straight " piece-work system that he called the differ- 
ential rate, and so it was that the first wage-increases under 
Scientific Management were in the form of this rate. In his 
paper of 189.5 he explained its workings as follows: 

This consists briefly in paying a higher price per piece, or per unit, 
or per job, if the work is done in the shortest possible time, and with- 
out imperfections, than is paid if the work takes a longer time or is 
imperfectly done. 

To illustrate: Suppose 20 units or pieces to be the largest amount of 
work of a certain kind that can be done in a day. Under the dif- 
ferential rate system, if the workman finishes 20 pieces per day, and 
all of these pieces are perfect, he receives, say, 15 cents per piece, 
making his pay for the day 15 X 20 = $3. If, however, he works 
too slowly and turns out say, only 19 pieces, then, instead of receiv- 
ing 15 cents per piece he gets only 12 cents per piece, making his 
pay for the day 12 X 19 = $2.28, instead of $3 per day. 

If he succeeds in finishing 20 pieces, some of which are imperfect, 
then he would receive a still lower rate of pay, says, 10 cents or 
5 cents per piece, making his pay for the day $2, or only $i, instead 
of $3. 

Whether or not it clearly appears in this illustration, the 
fact is that if his higher or highest rate was designed to en- 


able the workman to earn unusually high wages, his aim 
was to fix his lower rate or rates at figures that would " allow 
the workman to earn scarcely an ordinary day's pay," and so 
have a system that not only would reward the workman for 
accomplishing his tasks, but also would punish him unmistak- 
ably for failing to accomplish it. As he expressed it in his 
later paper, Shop Management^ his differential-rate system 
" not only pulls the man up from the top, but pushes him 
equally hard from the bottom." Every means would thor- 
ough-going Fred Taylor take to get his tasks done and done 

However, he never had a pride of authorship in his differen- 
tial system such as prevented him from adopting other wage- 
payment methods shown to be, under particular circumstances, 
more feasible if less rigorous j and the fact is that though he 
clung to the theory of the differential, he never again found 
occasion for making use of it after leaving Midvale. With 
him the important thing always was the principle of extra pay 
for extra work. 

The wage philosophy that always governed his practice, 
whatever the particular wage system he might employ, may 
be summed up in this proposition: that current wage-rates are 
approximately just compensation for the character of produc- 
tion under which these rates have grown up, but are not just 
compensation for the character of production obtained through 
a scientifically set task, and that the proper extra pay for the 
extra effort called for by a scientifically set task is that which 
will induce the worker to make the extra efFort continuously. 

Some of Taylor's friends in academic circles, particularly 
professors of economics, questioned the scientific nature of any 
wage system based on current wage-rates. Such rates, they 
said, grow up largely at haphazard, and as regards localities 
are subject to variations having no rationale. While Taylor 
regarded the principle of extra pay for extra work as a univer- 


sal one, it is not on the record that he considered his general 
method of applying this principle as perfect. Here again, as a 
practical man, he had to be content with approximations, had 
to figure that the scientific way is simply the best way that, in 
view of all the facts, a thing can be done at any particular time 
and place. Certainly he had the satisfaction of knowing that 
his general method of determining wages met in his time the 
pragmatic test — it worked. 

Just why it worked will be clear when his way of dealing 
with labor is contrasted with the traditional way. 

This latter way was for the manager to say to the worker, 
in effect: I know that all you can earn is [say] two dollars 
a day, for I always can get men of your grade in this locality 
to work for that sum. It is true I haven^t any clear idea of 
what you in return ought to give me — I shall have to leave 
that largely to you — but if you don't give me as much as 
two-dollar men usually give me, I shall fire you, and if I can 
drive, trick, or cajole you into giving me more, I shall do so. 

Such a method naturally led to warfare} and at the bottom 
of the difficulty, as shown by Taylor's analysis, was the man- 
ager's ignorance of the amount of work the worker should 
do. What the manager bought or thought he was buying was 
the worker's time. At the best he had only a hazy notion 
that time is but the package in which effort, the real goods, 
is wrapped. Either he failed to realize the big difference in 
effort that can be put forth in an interval of time such as a 
day, or he went blundering along under the delusion that he 
could command the best effort without paying the price. 

On the other hand, Taylor clearly saw that the real goods 
is the worker's effort, and that to get the best effort the man- 
ager must sfecify it and offer a price for it that would induce 
the worker to deliver it. Hence, under his system, the man- 
ager said to the worker, in effect: I want you to help me 
produce a certain amount every day. Your part will call for 


your exerting yourself just in this way and just to this extent. 
Watch me do it, and you will see that, as a man who is adapted 
to the job, you can easily do it or be taught to do it/ Now you 
understand just what I want from you. For a day's work of 
this kind I will pay you [say] $3, for I always can get men 
of your grade to make this effort for this sum. You must 
understand that if any day you fall short of this effort, I 
will pay you only $2, the ordinary rate for ordinary work. 
On the other hand, if you are such an unusually able workman 
that you can do more in a day than I require, I will pay you 
for it, so that you will share in the extra production to the 
same extent that you do in the required production. 

As Taylor's years of experience proved that here was es- 
tablished a mutuality of interest to which all kinds and condi- 
tions of working people responded, he was not without 
justification in believing that he had established a basis for 
a solution of the labor problem. He saw that the traditional 
method of buying labor meant either low wages with high 
labor costs when the employer was " top dog," or higher 
wages with still higher labor costs when the workman was on 
top. He believed that, buying on specification. Scientific 
Management made it to the interest of the worker to deliver 
the best quality of work, and that, with its mechanism for 
utilizing the full value of this worky it combined the highest 
wages known in the industrial world with the lowest labor 

^ Behind this sentence is far more than may appear. Says H. L. Gantt in 
Industrial Leadershif : " The authority to issue an order involves the respon- 
sibility to see that it is properly executed. The system of management which 
we advocate is based on this principle, which eliminates bluff as a feature of 
management, for a man can only assume the responsibility for doing a thing 
properly when he not only knows how to do it, but can also teach somebody 
else to do it." It should not be difficult for anyone to understand why work- 
ing people, apart from any question of wages, found it a satisfaction to work 
for men who could show them as well as tell them, and who incidentally as- 
sumed the responsibility for the implements and all the conditions upon which 
the fulfillment of the tasks depended. It undoubtedly was because of this as well 
as of the high wages he paid that Taylor never again had any trouble with 
working people after his early experience at Midvale. 


costs. High wages with low labor costs became one of his 
great principles. And here he set up both for the employer 
and the employee the principle of giving. He felt that when 
both parties to a contract are bent on giving, not as little as 
possible, but as much as is feasible under all the circumstances, 
neither stands to lose and both stand to win. 

He, of course, did not advocate that the employer should 
pay wages as high as his financial resources might permit. It 
was Taylor's inference from experience that workmen could 
be over-paid J that, especially among the mass of unskilled 
workers, any great increase of wages, coming suddenly, is 
likely to prove demoralizing j that there are thousands of 
persons who, because they have a low standard of living and 
no habit of thrift, view an opportunity to earn more money 
simply as an opportunity to work less. But the principal 
reason why he did not advocate that the employer should 
pay wages as high as his financial resources might permit was 
that this would prevent the realization of the other half of 
the ideal J namely, low labor costs. 

Many of those persons who heartily supported him in his 
belief that capital and labor have an equal interest in increas- 
ing production, could not follow him in his belief that the 
interests of capital and labor are identical when it comes to the 
division of the profits arising from production. 

We gather that the reasoning which supported his sublime 
faith that, even as regards the division of the product, there 
need be no quarrel between capital and labor was this: The 
capitalist and the laborer have an equal interest in keeping 
prices low. The lower the price, the greater the sale. The 
greater the sale, the greater the employment both for capital 
and labor. The capitalist and the laborer, moreover, are both 
consumers. Jointly they are consumers of the materials and 
implements entering into their production. Individually they 
are consumers of eatables, wearables, and other things we call 


ultimate products. Thus not only as producers but also as 
consumers they are equally interested in low prices. An im- 
portant factor in price is labor cost. Thus capital and labor 
have an equal interest in the maintenance of a wage system 
scientifically designed to reduce labor costs and keep them 


HE applied his principle of extra pay for extra work 
not only to the piece work at Midvale but also to 
the work which was of such a nature that it had 
to be kept on a day-work basis. He paid the men who did 
this latter work, not according to the positions they held or 
their classification as mechanics or laborers, but according to 
their individual character and skill. A systematic record was 
kept of each man's " punctuality, attendance, integrity, rapid- 
ity, skill, and accuracy," and from time to time the men's 
wages were readjusted in accordance with this record/ 

Evidently his systematic individualization of all workmen 
largely was inspired by his desire to avoid among them any 
tendency to unionism. In his paper of 1895 he wrote that in 
the previous ten years the steel business had proved " the 
most fruitful field for labor organization and strikes," and he 
went on to say that " when men throughout an establishment 
are paid varying rates of day-work wages according to their 
individual worth, some being above the average and some be- 
low the average, it cannot be for the interest of those receiv- 
ing high pay to join a union with the cheap man." He fully, 
you might say enthusiastically, recognized that when workmen 
are treated as a herd their only remedy lies in combination 
and " frequently in strikes," but he himself proposed to avoid 
the disease that made the remedy necessary j and if he was 
anxious to do this, it was because he saw that the tendency of 

^ Paper of 1895, ^ Piece-Rate System. 


unionism in his day was invariably to make the work of the 
least efficient man the standard of the shop and in general to 
restrict output. 

How mixed his sympathies were in connection with union- 
ism may be gathered from the fact that, though in his paper 
of 1895 he singled out the trade unions of England for men- 
tion as having " rendered a great service not only to their 
membership, but to the world," he in his Midvale years had 
reason to lament what this same English trades-unionism had 
done to make the workers of that country believe in limiting 
output. It was the English mechanics at Midvale who had 
most stubbornly upheld the " systematic soldiering " there. 
This he mentioned in a letter he wrote in November, 19 13, 
to J. Ellis Barker, an English publicist who, in an article in 
the Fortnightly Review, had taken an alarming view of in- 
dustrial conditions in his country. 

Your report [said Taylor] would lead one to conclude that Eng- 
land's lack of output was mainly due to inferior machinery and to 
the use of too small an amount of horsepower, etc. I know case 
after case in England where they use exactly the same machines as 
in this country, but at far less horsepower and at far less speed than 
they should be run, and in a manner so as to turn out nothing like 
half the work that is being turned out in this country, and this is 
due, not to the lack of proper machinery, but to the almost unalterable 
determination of every workman in England to turn out as little work 
as possible each day in return for the money he receives. This with 
the English workmen is almost a religion. 

In 1882, when I was foreman in the machine shop of the Midvale 
Steel Co., I first became thoroughly convinced of this fact. At that 
time the steel business in this country was comparatively in its in- 
fancy, and it was impossible for us to get skilled American workmen 
to carry on the steel business. There was at that time quite a large 
English immigration of skilled steel workers to this country, and we 
had to depend for some time upon these men to do our work. At that 
time there were no trades unions in the steel business to speak of in this 


country (at least they were not powerful). In spite of this fact, 
however, I soon found that every English workman was doing every- 
thing in his power, first, to restrict his own output, and, second, to 
induce every other workman around him to restrict output to the 
maximum possible extent. . . . 

To illustrate this restriction of output, we had in our works a 
locomotive and car wheel tire rolling machine, which was bought 
from Tangy Brothers in England, and all the apparatus connected 
with this machine came from England. We had a splendid set of 
English workmen — that is, they were fine fellows and very skilled 
workers — to run this machine. And after working at it for three 
or four years, they would only turn out about 15 tires per day. We 
called their attention over and over again to the fact that at this 
rate of production we were making no profit whatever; that it was 
absolutely necessary to increase the production of this machine. All 
of our persuasion and all of our talk was of no avail whatever, and 
we were finally obliged to discharge the whole lot of them, get every 
man outside of the works, and ourselves to train in an entirely new 
and green set of American workmen, who had never seen a machine 
of this sort. Within three months after training them in, we had 
increased the output from 15 to 25 tires a day, this output went on, 
right on the same machine, increasing until three or four years later 
we had an output of 150 tires a day. 

The big jump in the production of this rolling machine 
came when the horsepower used in it was " immensely in- 
creased " and the men running it were put under Taylor's 
differential-rate system j and from his paper of 1895 we quote 
what happened when this system was applied to a typical piece 
of lathe work: 

A standard steel forging, many thousands of which are used every 
year, had for several years been turned at the rate of from four to 
five per day under the ordinary system of piece-work, 50 cents per 
piece being the price paid for the work. After analyzing the job 
and determining the shortest time required to do each of the elemen- 
tary operations of which it was composed, and then summing up the 


total, the writer became convinced that it was possible to turn ten 
pieces a day. . . . 

It will be appreciated that this was a big day's work both for men 
and machines, when it is understood that it involved removing, with 
a single 1 6-inch latJie, having two saddles, an average of more 
than 800 pounds of steel chips in ten hours. In place of the 50-cent 
rate that they had been paid before, they were given 35 cents per 
piece when they turned them at the speed of 10 per day, and when 
they produced less than 10, they received only 25 cents per piece. 

It took considerable trouble to induce the men to turn at this high 
speed, since they did not at first fully appreciate that it was the in- 
tention of the firm to allow them to earn permanently at the rate 
of $3.50 per day. But from the day they first turned ten pieces to 
the present time, a period of more than ten years, the men who under- 
stood their work have scarcely failed a single day to turn at this rate. 
Throughout that time, until the beginning of the recent fall in the 
scale of wages throughout the country, the rate was not cut. 

Incidentally it may be mentioned that the cost of turning 
these pieces was reduced from a dollar and seventeen cents 
each to sixty-nine cents.^ 

In the case of all his piece-rate workers he found, as he 
wrote, that it was not 

^ One of the curious incidents of Taylor's career was that some time after 
19 10, when wide publicity was given to his general methods, a preacher of 
ethical culture stood right up in meeting and denounced such results as these 
as scandalous. How he and persons like him reach their conclusions is so 
childlike in its simplicity that he who runs may grasp it. In such a case as 
that of the Midvale forgings they would fix their attention on the fact that 
the machinists turned ten a day instead of five; from this they would leap 
to the conclusion that those machinists did twice as much work, and then they 
would argue that those who do twice as much work ought to get twice as 
much money. Hence if those machinists got $2.50 a day when they turned 
five forgings, it was a sin and a shame that when they turned ten they did not 
get $5 a day, but only $3.50. Remote from industry, these good people have 
little or no idea of the part that better planning may play in increasing a work- 
man's production and what this better planning costs the management. During 
Taylor's active career, he, of course, could not have made any headway if 
he had not kept constantly in mind the need of reimbursing his employers for 
the cost of his experimenting as well as of the system needed to maintain the 
standards developed by the experimenting. 


. . . sufficient that each workman's ambition should be aroused by 
the prospect of larger pay at the end of even a comparatively short 
period of time. The stimulus to maximum exertion should be a 
daily one. 

This involves such vigorous and rapid inspection and returns as 
to enable each workman in most cases to know each day the exact 
result of his previous day's work — i.e., whether he has succeeded in 
earning his maximum pay, and exactly what his losses are for careless 
or defective work. Two-thirds of the moral effect, either of a re- 
ward or penalty, is lost by even a short postponement. 

In all particulars he strove to adapt his system to working 
people as he found them, and evidently he found that 
their greatest weakness was their tendency to live wholly in 
the present. To look ahead, to visualize the future, to sacri- 
fice a present satisfaction for a later and greater one — this, 
though a fundamental to progress, is apparently about the 
hardest thing that the mass of workers can do. Hence the 
stress Taylor put, not only on immediate rewards, but on 
still more immediate returns. 

It will be understood that in speaking of the mass of 
workers we are speaking of the mass of humanity. In the 
ranks of labor, of course, there always have been hundreds 
of men so intellectually keen, so willing, so progressive that 
they naturally rise to high positions of leadership. And in 
the mass exists as a potentiality what in exceptional men is the 
actuality. All democratic men feel this, and act accordingly. 
And it was so with Taylor. He saw that wisdom ceases and 
folly begins when men whose potentialities remain unde- 
veloped are treated as if their potentialities were fully de- 
veloped. But it is safe to say that never was there an 
exceptional man who strove harder than he to help others to 
make their potentialities actual. As a manager he was his 
own labor leader. In truth, he never could be cured of the 
idea that leading its own employees is one of the natural 


functions of management; it was inherent in his philosophy 
that it is only as management neglects this function, or is 
incapable of exercising it because of its own lack of develop- 
ment, that the rank and file must look for leadership else- 

In H. Fawcett's Political Economy y published in 1874, the 
year before Taylor began his industrial career as an apprentice, 
it was written: "No remedy for low wages' can be really 
efficient unless it increases the efficiency of labor and secures 
a social and moral improvement in the condition of the labor- 
ers themselves." Though it is improbable that Taylor ever 
saw these words, they might well have served as a text for all 
that part of his work in management pertaining to the " labor 

When he entered industry, no such thing as industrial de- 
mocracy was conceived of. The most successful managers of 
that day relied upon force or coercion almost pure and simple. 
As he " confided himself childlike to the genius of his age," 
Taylor was strong. But the great difference between him and 
the ordinary manager of that day was that he, throwing him- 
self into his work with extraordinary sincerity and zeal, was 
thereby quickly brought face to face with the limitations of 
force J this term here being used to stand for the general idea 
of external pressure, or anything which acts as a threat or 
suggestion of harm or loss and so arouses fear. 

He never abandoned his belief that force, to a greater or 
less degree, must be retained in the management of men. 
Writing in 1913 (two years before his death) to Edwin F. 
Gay, then dean of Harvard's Graduate School of Business 
Administration, he said: 

The great trouble with the men who have been too many years 
getting an academic education is that they have not had the expe- 
rience in being obh'ged to " get there." If they understand the theory 
of the thing and feel thoroughly convinced that such and such a 


proposition is right, they almost invariably attempt to get other men 
to do what they ought to do by reasoning, persuasion, and talk, and by 
giving them orders and directing them what to do. And this way 
of dealing with men, as I have said many times, is productive of very 
small results. I have found it necessary almost invariably to talk but 
little to men, but to go right ahead and MAKE [his capitals] them 
do what I wanted them to do, and this implies the experience of know- 
ing how, by hook or crook, to get men to do what at the time they do 
not wish to do. It is part persuasion and part force, and the presenta- 
tion of actual object lessons of various kinds, and the academic man 
neither understands nor believes in the use of this sort of force. 

This points to the limitations of force as he discovered 
it. He found that you could not by any means rely on it 
alone to draw from men their best efforts. More specifically, 
he found that the use of force is economically feasible only 
when, as supplemental to appeals to self-interest and to rea- 
son, it is used to get men to do what they know is right, 
proper, and in line with their own interest, but have not the 
strength to initiate of their own volition j or when it is used 
to get men to do what they will recognize as right, proper, 
and in line with their own interest when they come to do it. 
It was with him a regular engineering proposition. He learned 
as a result of his long fight with his men at Midvale, that to 
try to force men to do what they regard as against their in- 
terests is to subject management to a strain that cannot be 
continued indefinitely. However, if what the management 
forces the men to do must eventually commend itself to them, 
this force will have to be exerted only temporarily. 

While it was with him an engineering or economic proposi- 
tion, he at the same time found it an ethical onej it also being 
brought home to him in consequence of his fight with his men 
that shops or works management, when it really did rule, was 
compelled to rule, as conditions then were, through a use of 
force that clearly should be unnecessary if only because it 


was morally shocking/ And here his attitude was that of the 
practical idealist. 

To say that a thing should be unnecessary is not the same 
as saying that it is unnecessary. It may be necessary on ac- 
count of existing conditions. The fact, however, that we can 
see that a thing should be unnecessary implies our recognition 
of the fact that the conditions which make it necessary have 
no call or right to exist and therefore should be expunged as 
fast as may be possible. The " should be," in fine, stands for 
the ideal. And an idealist is one who recognizes the validity 
of the ideal. The impractical idealist, however, ignores the 
conditions that make a thing necessary, and thus assumes that 
what should be unnecessary is unnecessary. On the other 
hand, the practical idealist faces the conditions that make a 
thing necessary, seeks to expunge these conditions, and con- 
siders that what should be unnecessary is unnecessary only to 
the extent that these conditions are expunged. 

Thus Taylor, if he came to realize that force should be 
unnecessary in the management of men, did not cease to use 
it, but while continuing to use it, attacked the conditions that 
made it necessary. In the manuscript he prepared in 1909 for 
his Harvard lectures, we read: 

The management of workmen consists mainly in the application of 
three elementary ideas: 

first. Holding a plum for them to climb after. 

Second. Cracking the whip over them, with an occasional touch 
of the lash. 

Third. Working shoulder to shoulder with them, pushing hard in 

^ If the implication here is that management should rule, it is to be recog- 
nized that this proposition has nothing to do with any dispute between " capital 
and labor " or any question as to who should own or control industry. No 
matter who owns or controls, some persons must plan and others execute, some 
must order and others obey. It is to be recognized also that a Jtern belief in 
the authority of management is quite consistent with a belief that the employees 
should participate in the management, have a voice in determining its policies, 
and so on. 


the same direcrion, and all the while teaching, guiding, and helping 

The management of the present consists of a combination of the 
first two of these elements, and of these the plum is more effective 
than the lash, although the latter is too often applied. Scientific Man- 
agement, the management of the future, consists in the application of 
all three elements, the lash, however, being left almost out of sight, 
while the close, hearty cooperation of the management with the work- 
men becomes the most prominent feature, and a good big plum is 
kept always in sight. 

In his vivacious language, the " plum " symbolized the 
appeal to self-interest, and the " lash " the appeal to fear. 
He felt, in 1909, that the lash had generally become sub- 
sidiary to the plum. But in the management of the future 
there would be little or no need of any appeal to fear. Such 
was his vision. 

At Midvale, he early brought to the front the principle of 
the plum. This, however, was in the form of a differential 
rate that embodied the appeal to fear along with the appeal 
to self-interest. As Taylor expressed it, the principle was that 
of " high pay for success " and " loss in case of failure." 

Again he found, in the case of many of his men, that it 
was not enough to hand them written instructions and point 
out that they would financially profit or suffer as these in- 
structions were or were not followed. To supplement this 
automatic system of reward and punishment, there must be, 
right with the workmen on the floor of the shop, foremen 
whose special duty it was to make plain that if those instruc- 
tions were in the nature of a call to dinner, it was the purpose 
of the management to see that every man responded to the 
call. That is to say, the science of the work and the work- 
man must be brought together. 

Developing a science amidst the every-day work of the 
shop, Taylor naturally clung to current shop terms, even i£ 


they were not those either of academic shades or of polite 
society. So he called his shop-floor functional foremen 
" speed bosses," " gang bosses," and so on. The speed boss 
never was a monster whose function it was to " speed 'em up " 
until the workmen were ready for a human scrap heap. In 
the days when instruction cards still were rudimentary, in- 
structions in following the best practice as regards the speeding 
of machines and the use of small tools were given largely by 
word of mouth, and the speed boss was so called because he 
was the expert in these things.^ At Midvale, Taylor was his 
own speed boss. He and his gang boss, however, were at the 
beginning largely bosses plain and simple. 

But water continued to flow under the bridge; which is to 
say that Taylor, as he put the work of the shop more and 
more on a scientific basis, found that the workmen would have 
to be more and more carefully selected for their particular 
tasks and to an increasing degree trained and instructed. At 
the same time, he found that as his men got into the swing of 
the new way of working, that as they passed the irksome period 
during which they had to change their habits, they became 
less and less in need of external pressure and became more and 
more their own pressure-producers. Thus the bosses, though 
they retained the title, became less and less of the boss and 
more and more of the teacher j so that when he prepared his 
Harvard manuscript about twenty years after he left Midvale, 
Taylor could write: 

In performing their duties, these teachers of the men are guided by 
the written instructions of the planning department just as much as 
the workmen are. They, however, study all of the work in advance 
of the workmen, and in attending to their duties they act not as 
driver and task master, but rather as guide, philosopher and friend. 

^ This boss of course had to consider the rate at which the metal was fed 
to the tool as well as the speed at which the tool was run, and as the feed 
was the thing of the greater importance, it has been suggested by Barth that 
he might better have been called the " feed boss." 


Their work is that of teaching and helping the men, watching over 
them, and finding their weak points, and then correcting them by ex- 
ample and by actually doing the work themselves while the workmen 
look on, as well as by talking to them. 

In this same manuscript, he summarized the work of his 
functional foremen as follows: 

The planning department analyzes in advance the job for the 
workman, giving him written orders, telling him in the most minute 
detail each motion which he is to make, and the time in which he is 
to do it. All the implements the workman is to use are not only 
specified but systematically brought to him before he starts to work. 
Each implement so furnished should be the very best known in the 
art for its particular purpose, and should always be kept in perfect 
order by the tool-making department. Every operation of the ma- 
chine which he is to run is in the same way studied in advance. 
Written directions covering the details of running the machine are 
given the workman, accompanied by a time table, similar to the time 
table for the workman's own motions. As the workman proceeds with 
a job, several teachers, one after another, come to him at his machine, 
and show him just how each motion^ is to be made in the most eflPec- 
tive way. One of these teachers (called the inspector) sees to it that 
he understands the drawings and instructions for doing the work. 

He teaches him how to do work of the right quality, and how to 
make it fine and exact where it should be fine, and rough and quick 
where accuracy is not required, — the one being just as important 
for success as the other. The second teacher (the gang boss) shows 
him how to set up the job in his machine, and teaches him to make all 
his personal motions in the quickest and best way. The third (the 
speed boss) sees that the machine is run at the best speed, and that the 
proper tool is used in the particular way which will enable the machine 
to finish its product in the shortest possible time. In addition to the 
assistance given by these teachers, the workman receives orders and 
help from four other men; from the repair boss as to adjustment, 
cleanliness and general care of his machine, belting, etc.; from the 
time clerk, as to everything relating to his pay and to proper written 


reports and returns; from the route clerk, as to the order in which he 
does his work and as to the movement of the work from one part of 
the shop to another; and finally, in case a workman gets into trouble 
with any of his various bosses, the disciplinarian interviews him. 

It must be understood, of course, that all workmen engaged in the 
same kind of work do not require the same amount of individual 
teaching and attention from the functional foremen who are over 
them. The men who are new at a given operation naturally re- 
quire more teaching and watching than those who have been a long 
time at the same kind of jobs. 

Here we can see how he sought to make everything con- 
spire to help the workman increase his individual production. 
This increase of production, he felt, was in the interest of all 
men. But he wanted everything in his system brought down 
to the workman not simply because of the increased produc- 
tion. A large part of his desire for this was due to his in- 
terest in workmen as human beings j and as regards this very 
important point we must give him his full say. 

Now [he continued in his Harvard manuscript] when through all 
of this teaching and this minute instruction, the work is apparently 
made so smooth and easy for the workman, the first impression is 
that this all tends to make him a mere automaton, a wooden man. 
As the workmen frequently say when they first come under this sys- 
tem, " Why, I am not allowed to think or move without someone 
interfering or doing it for me!" The same criticism and objection, 
however, can be raised against all other modern sub-divisions of labor. 
It does not follow, for example, that the modern surgeon is any more 
narrow or wooden a man than the early settler of this country. The 
frontiersman, however, had to be not only a surgeon, but an archi- 
tect, house-builder, lumberman, farmer, soldier, doctor, and he had 
to settle his law cases with a gun. You would hardly say that the life 
of the modern surgeon is any more narrowing, or that he is more of 
a wooden man, than the frontiersman. The many problems to be 
met and solved by the surgeon are just as intricate and difficult and 


as developing and broadening in their way as were those of the 
frontiersman. The workman who is cooperating with his many 
teachers under the modern scientific management has at least the same, 
generally a greater, opportunity to develop in an intellectual way as 
he had when the whole problem was up to him and he did his work 
entirely unaided. 

If it were true that the workman would develop into a larger and 
finer man without all of this teaching, and without the help of the 
laws which have been formulated for doing his particular job, then 
it would follow that the young man who now comes to college to 
have the help of a teacher in mathematics, physics, chemistry, Latin, 
Greek, etc., would do better to study these things unaided by himself. 
The only difirerence in the two cases is that students come to their 
teachers, while from the nature of the work done by the mechanic, 
the teacher must go to him. What really happens is that, with the 
aid of science which is invariably developed, and through the in- 
structions from his teachers, each workman of a given intellectual 
capacity is enabled to do much higher, more interesting, and finally 
more developing and more profitable kind of work than he was be- 
fore able to do. The laborer who before was unable to do anything 
beyond, perhaps, shoveling and wheeling dirt from place to place, or 
carrying the work from one place to another in the shop, is in many 
cases taught to do the more elementary machinist's work, accompanied 
by the agreeable surroundings and the interesting variety and higher 
wages which go with the machinist's trade. The cheap machinist or 
helper, who before was able to run perhaps merely a drill press, is 
taught to do the more interesting and higher priced lathe and planer 
work, while the highly skilled and more intelligent machinists become 
functional foremen and teachers. And so on, right up the line. 

As I have several times before tried to point out, the value of any 
system of treating or managing workmen should be measured chiefly 
by the efirect which it has in the long run upon the character of the 
workman as well as upon his prosperity. 

The lives of men in any class are more affected by the habits which 
they form than by any other one influence. It is my observation 
that good principles usually follow good habits, instead of the reverse. 
The best way to secure good principles in men, therefore, is to firmly 


establish them in good habits. Now, perhaps the most prominent char- 
acteristic of modern scientific management is the task idea which per- 
vades it. Each workman is each day given in advance a carefully 
thought-out and well-rounded task, a task which demands in him 
personal excellence, not only in one particular, but a thorough and 
fine balance of the several qualities which together make a man. 

Since the best possible series of movements are carefully thought 
out for him, in all cases, by a man trained to methodical thinking, 
the workman soon gets into the habit of looking for some logical 
system, some philosophy back of the doing of each job. There is no 
doubt left in his mind that among the fifty possible ways of doing 
each little thing, there is always one best way, and he gets in the 
habit of not only knowing what the best way is, but of trying to find 
out just why it is best, and of then practising this method until he 
becomes physically dexterous at it. He learns, also, that one particular 
implement is always better than the other forty-nine that might be 
used, and he is taught the reason for this superiority. He soon rec- 
ognizes the vital importance of planning ahead all the way through 
to the end of each job; and the habit of doing all of these things with 
a certain method and swing makes him more logical and trains him 
to more exact and precise thinking. 

This intellectual improvement, or improvement in the mental proc- 
esses of the workman, and the manual skill which he acquires, are, 
however, of less importance than the change which takes place in other 
directions under the pressure of the task, and through the help and 
guidance of his teachers. Of even greater importance than training 
him to think clearly is the fact that he is taught not only to be care- 
ful and to use exact methods, so as to do accurate work, but at the 
same time to use energy and constant diligence to do the amount of 
work required of him in a given time. This develops in him, at the 
same time, the several qualities which makes him a well-rounded, 
well-balanced and successful man. Because the successful workman 
of today must have all four qualities, in even balance, of ( I ) knowing 
how to do, (2) possessing the manual dexterity, (3) using constant 
care, and (4) having the speed to work fast and the energy to keep it 
up. If he lacks any one of these four qualities he will be a failure, 
instead of a success. 


The setting of a task draws in each case a clear-cut, sharp line 
between success and failure. When the workman succeeds in cross- 
ing this line, he receives an addition of from 30 to 100 per cent to his 
pay, so that a large inducement is offered him each day to be suc- 

The moral effect of this habit of doing things according to law and 
method is great. It develops men of principle in other directions. 
When men spend the greater part of their active working hours in 
regulating their every movement in accordance with clear-cut formu- 
lated laws, they form habits which inevitably affect and in many 
cases control them in their family life, and in all of their acts out- 
side of working hours. With almost certainty they begin to guide 
the rest of their lives according to principles and laws, and to try 
to insist upon those around them doing the same. Thus the whole 
family feels the good effect of the good habits which have been forced 
upon the workman in his daily work through the task idea and all that 
accompanies it. The task draws a sharp line between success and 
failure, and the large daily premium which workmen receive when 
they cross this line, leaves no doubt in their minds as to the dif- 
ference between the two, and the habit of being successful makes 
them distinctly more self-respecting and more self-reliant. This is 
clearly seen in many cases in their more prosperous and cheerful look 
and carriage, and in their whole address. [Incidentally this is an 
example of how Taylor made work more pleasurable and interesting.] 
One of the best results is that they look upon the men composing the 
management as their best friends, and as helpers with whom to co- 
operate, instead of spending as formerly, a considerable part of their 
time in suspicious watchfulness or in practicing deceit, and in the 
worst cases, in almost open warfare. Harmony in place of discord 
makes life better worth living. 

No man can do two things at the same time, and the actual good that 
the workmen get from doing useful and interesting work in the time 
which they formerly spent in discussing their grievances and in trying 
to devise remedies for them, is no small gain in their lives. 

I am spending so much time upon this aspect of the case, because it 
appears to me that the effect of the system upon the workman is in 
the end the most important element in the whole problem. 


He regarded the reduction of labor costs as very important, 
and he regarded the increasing of wages as very important. 
But it was his deliberate opinion that the most important fea- 
ture of any system must be its effect upon the workman's char- 
acter j and it is to be remembered that the manuscript in which 
he recorded this was not prepared for the general public (this 
was more than a year before the general public ever heard 
anything about his system), but for an audience at Harvard's 
Graduate School of Business Administration made up of man- 
agers, actual, embryo, and would-be. 

It was the same series of lectures in which he spoke of 
the " lash." These two things must be linked if we would 
understand him. The lash — but only as it may help to 
develop character. Without an increase of character — that 
which expresses itself in self-control, in industry, in applica- 
tion, in willingness to give, in willingness to face and to do 
that which is disagreeable — wages are likely to be increased 
only temporarily or nominally. And without the diffusion 
of character there can be no real democracy. It is not true 
that power can be transferred from this person to that person 
at will, or that power can be split up among a set of persons 
by such things as legislation and strikes. Without character, 
there can be power only in the sense of power to retard, to 
check, to destroy. Above everything, character. This, most 
decidedly, was the Taylor of it. 

If there was only a beginning with the " working shoulder 
to shoulder " principle at Midvale, it was a real beginning. 
Actuating what Taylor did there we can see, in fact, all four 
of the principles that in his later years he brought to con- 
sciousness and struggled to formulate: first, "the develop- 
ment of a true science," the reducing of all things to law; 
second, " the scientific selection of the workman "3 third, " his 
scientific education and development," or " bringing the 
science and the workman together "j fourth, " intimate, 


friendly cooperation between the management and the men," 
or " the almost equal division of the work." 

That all this did have a real beginning at Midvale is indi- 
cated by the fact that there appeared in those works the 
better moral atmosphere to which Taylor referred in his Har- 
vard lectures and which to this day continues to distinguish the 
establishments where his principles are practiced " in spirit 
and in truth." Said Taylor in his paper of 1895: 

A noted French engineer and steel manufacturer, who recently 
spent several weeks in the works of the Midvale Company in intro- 
ducing a new branch of manufacture, stated before leaving that the 
one thing that had impressed him as most unusual and remarkable 
about the place was the fact that not only the foremen, but the 
workmen, were expected to and did in the main tell the truth in case 
of any blunder or carelessness, even when they had to suffer from 
it themselves. 

In commenting on Taylor's paper when it was read before 
the A. S. M. E., Gantt said: 

His method of fixing rates by elements eliminates, as nearly as 
possible, all chance of error, and his differential rates go a long way 
toward harmonizing interests of employer and employee. 

It was my good fortune to work for a year as his assistant in this 
work, and I fully agree with him as to the effect on the men. They 
improve under it, both in honesty and efficiency, more than I have 
seen them do elsewhere. Realizing that substantial justice was being 
done, and that to do their duty was to follow their own interest, it 
soon became a matter of habit with them. 

The sum of it would appear to be this: that it is not enough 
for management to cease bewailing the lack of character, vision, 
and ability it may find in its employees, treat them in ac- 
cordance with a sympathetic sense of their deficiencies, and 
provide them with immediate rewards for doing wellj in addi- 
tion to this, the management must develop and keep develop- 


ing itself and meanwhile develop its employees; training 
them, as it itself acquires these things, in habits of skill and of 
truth and industry. 

From the beginning Taylor followed this course. As he 
sought to develop himself, so he sought to arouse his men, 
to give them a vision, and help them to get there. At the 
start his course pertained more to his personal relations with 
his men than to his official; it was largely extramanagerial. 
But gradually he came to incorporate this course as a necessary 
part of the managerial office itself. 

It may not have been pure democracy — in fact, it could 
not have been — but it was the course of those who realize 
that every man is their brother, and that in the nature of 
things and if only for their own highest good, they, as they 
occupy positions of advantage, are for their brother respon- 
sible. Hence it represented a movement towards democracy, 
and that, we take it, is the main thing. 



ON May 3, 1884, which was the year in which he was 
made chief engineer, Frederick W. Taylor was 
married to Miss Louise M. Spooner, whom he had 
known since childhood j the ceremony being performed in the 
old Unitarian Church at loth and Locust Streets by its then 
venerable pastor, Dr. William H. Furness. Throughout his 
married life, it was Frederick Taylor's aim not merely to 
gratify his wife's wishes, but to anticipate them, and not 
merely to provide her with continued happiness, but to shield 
her from everything unpleasant. At home he permitted his 
happy, affectionate, and prankish nature to flow forth without 
stint. He was there so much in the habit of tossing aside his 
dignity and playing the amusing urchin that his wife often 
wondered that people elsewhere seemed to take him so seri- 
ously. In her presence all his troubles were dropped. 

Going to Midvale when he was twenty-two and leaving 
there when he was thirty-four, he packed into these twelve 
years of his young manhood an aggregate of achievement 
which without exaggeration can be called exceptional. While 
he was acquiring the expertness at tennis that enabled him to 
win with Clark the doubles championship of the United States 
in 1 88 1, he had begun the study at night that qualified him 
for the degree^ of M. E. he obtained at Stevens in 1883. 
From 1878 on to about 1881 he resorted to every method 
he could think of to force his men to increase their produc- 
tion j then came his time-study, metal-cutting, and belting in- 



vestigations, and the years of wearing struggle to build up a 
system and develop an organization that would facilitate 
the establishment and maintenance of his scientifically-deter- 
mined standards. In the meantime he met the claims of 
friendship, won a wife, and established a home of his own. 
In 1883 and 1884 he designed and superintended the construc- 
tion of a new machine shop having many novel features. In 
1886, two years after his marriage, he joined the A. S. M. E., 
became an attentive student of its papers, and prepared one 
of his own (on the use of gas in open-hearth furnaces). As 
master mechanic and chief engineer he became responsible for 
all repairs and maintenance throughout the works. And all 
along he poured out his ingenuity in the invention, not only 
of management devices, but of purely mechanical j this latter 
form culminating in the designing, apparently in the latter 
part of 1889, of his great and revolutionary steam hammer. 
He never could have accomplished what he did, of course, if 
he had not had that gift of ^'^ making better use of other men 
than they could make of themselves." But in the main it 
bespoke that magnificent height of spirit which finds every 
difficulty superable and every problem soluble. 

Throughout these years he was a source of innocent merri- 
ment to the other department chiefs and to the minor officials. 
It was not only that in this he met the fate of every bold 
innovator j the eagerness, the ardency with which the young 
man threw himself into his work was without a parallel. He 
seemed to count that day lost whose low descending sun viewed 
from his hand no novel action done. Hardly is it strange 
that even the high officials found there was something outre 
about him 5 but, somehow, they always felt that "if he was 
crazy, he ought to have a chance to prove it." Surely they 
let him take on himself a load of responsibility. It has been 
said that responsibility never is so much conferred as assumed. 
It is certain that Taylor seized all he could lay hands upon, 


and not only seized it but stood up to it, whatever the event. 
While, as notably the case in his metal-cutting study, he 
frequently started more than he intended, he had a way of 
going through with it. Sooner or later, in fact, he bobbed up 
with results unmistakably tangible and indisputably practical, 
and withal of such value as more than justified their cost. 
If in his flaming zeal he now and then burned up money 
needlessly, it invariably was kept from becoming a conflagra- 
tion by the cooling stream of his common sense. 

Eventually they all had to concede that in the madness 
of a man who gets two forgings turned where only one had 
been turned before, there must be a gleam of method, and 
that it might be a good thing for the works in general to go 
crazy to this extent. There also was the fact that through 
his development of standard practice for the care of machinery 
and belting and his instruction-card and tickler system, he had 
cut down the repair force of the works about a third. So, 
apparently along about 1886, Russell W. Davenport, the 
superintendent, adopted Taylor's general methods for the 
entire works, and when in 1888, two years after the Harrah 
regime began, Davenport left Midvale to go to the Bethlehem 
Steel Company, these methods were continued under his suc- 
cessor, Mr. Petre. 

Now, three years before this, or in 1885, there had begun 
to unwind the chain of circumstances that was to take Taylor 
himself from Midvale in the fall of 1890, and this was the 
manner of it: 

As work for the army and navy was done at Midvale, officers 
from those branches of the government were stationed there 
as inspectors. These oflicers were_in a position to judge 
impartially as to what went on there, and it would appear 
that none of them was able to see anything humorous in the 
part there played by Frederick W. Taylor j the fact being that 
they became the source of rumors that in his case Midvale 


had as an employee a young man of romantically-high char- 
acter combined with energy and ability most extraordinary/ 

In 1884, when Grover Cleveland was elected President of 
the United States, he selected for his Secretary of the Navy 
that skilful politician, keen and energetic man of business, 
widely-informed man of the world, and charming gentleman, 
William C. Whitney. What Mr. Whitney proceeded to do to 
develop the navy as soon as he took office in 1885, is well 
known. Among other things, he wanted a man of first-rate 
ability for the superintendency of the navy's great gun-works 
at Washington, and to find such a man Commander (later 
Rear Admiral) Caspar F. Goodrich received a roving com- 
mission. Made acquainted with Taylor's fame among the 
government inspectors at Midvale, Goodrich visited those 
works among other places, had a talk with Taylor, and placed 
his name at the head of the list he turned in to Whitney. 
In due time Taylor was invited to Washington, and though 
Mr. Whitney was unable to interest him in the superintend- 
ency of the gun works, he left with that gentleman a lasting 
impression. Thus when, at the close of the Cleveland ad- 
ministration in 1889, a general manager was needed for an 
enterprise known as the Manufacturing Investment Company 
in which Mr. Whitney in the meantime had become interested, 
his thought again turned to Taylor. 

The Manufacturing Investment Company was organized in 
New York to exploit a patented process for the conversion of 
wood products into fibre suitable for the making of paper, 
including such paper as is used for boxes and container-boards. 

^ The government inspectors at Midvale were drawn from the officers of 
the army's Ordnance Department and of the navy's Bureau of Construction and 
Repair; and it is highly significant that throughout Taylor's career the men 
who officered these government departments were, with their engineering edu- 
cation and disinterested professional outlook, practically unanimous not merely 
in their approval of but enthusiasm for Taylor's leading management prin- 
ciples and methods. We shall see that it was an ordnance officer stationed at 
Midvale while Tayloi' was there who was responsible for the first attempt to 
introduce the Taylor System into the army's manufacturing arsenals. 


The special attraction of this process lay in the fact that it 
was designed to utilize particularly the slabs and edgings pro- 
duced in the manufacture of lumber, which by-products then 
were generally burned up as useless. The process was in- 
vented by a German chemist named Andrew Mitcherlich. 
Coming to this country and obtaining patents here, Professor 
Mitcherlich first interested Don M. Dickinson, of Michigan, 
a great lumber State. In Cleveland's administration Dickin- 
son served as Postmaster General, and it was through him 
that Whitney, his fellow Cabinet member, became interested 
in the Mitcherlich patents. Through Whitney in turn in- 
terest in these patents spread to Daniel Lamont, President 
Cleveland's secretary, and to the brother of Mr. Whitney's 
wife. Colonel Oliver H. Payne, of New York, a gentleman of 
great wealth prominently identified with such huge corpora- 
tions as the Standard Oil Company and the American Tobacco 
Company. When the Manufacturing Investment Company 
was organized, with Whitney as president, all these gentlemen 
subscribed to the company's capital stock. 

Early in the Cleveland administration, the practicability of 
the Mitcherlich process was proved to the satisfaction of Whit- 
ney and his associates at a mill started at Alpena, Michigan, 
by the Fletcher Paper Company. And before the Cleveland 
administration closed, the Manufacturing Investment Com- 
pany had established two mills, one at Madison, Maine, and 
the other at Appleton, Wisconsin. The Madison mill was 
placed in charge of Commander Goodrich, and the Appleton 
mill in charge of Commander (later Rear Admiral) Robley 
D. Evans, familiarly and widely known as " Fighting Bob." 
To take up this work these officers received leave of absence 
from the Navy Department. 

When in the spring of 1890, then, Whitney made Taylor 
a definite offer to become the general manager of the Man- 
ufacturing Investment Company, this company had become 


fairly well established. The offer was that of a three-year 
contract, and included an agreement that Taylor should have 
the privilege of subscribing for shares of the company's stock 
at par and that upon these shares a dividend would be guaran- 
teed. The net of the offer was to insure him a financial re- 
turn much larger than he received at Midvale and one that, 
in those days, was exceptionally large for a young man of 
thirty-four. Apart from this, the prospect was attractive since 
the chief men behind the company were of national reputa- 
tion and influence, and all had firm faith in the company's 
future. It was expected that the mills established in Maine 
and Wisconsin would be the forerunners of a big chain. For 
some time, however, Taylor hesitated. In fact, he wanted 
his old friend, Wilfred Lewis, to have the position, and urged 
upon him that he was better qualified for it. To this Lewis 
positively refused to assent, and it was after it was in turn 
urged upon Taylor that he could not in justice to himself 
refuse Mr. Whitney's offer that he yielded. His formal 
resignation of his position at Midvale was sent in on May 
28, 1890, and it was agreed between him and the president, 
that great joker, Charles J. Harrah, the younger, that it was 
to take effect the following October. 

In his later years it became one of the favorite " argu- 
ments " of Taylor's opponents that wherever his methods 
were introduced they proved to be a failure and had to be 
thrown out. This sort of argument evidently was started 
seven years after Taylor left Midvale, or in 1897, when he 
was reorganizing the works of the Simonds Rolling Machine 
Company in Fitchburg, Massachusetts. So disturbed was 
Walter A. Simonds, the head of this business, by the reports 
then circulated that, on October 20, 1897, he wrote to the 
Midvale Steel Company about them. Thus, under date of 
October 22, Mr. Harrah addressed this short but interesting 
letter to Mr. Taylor: 


My dear Taylor: — 

For God's sake don't bring your Uncle William Sellers, or should 
I say, Walter A. Simonds into any controversy with me. I have 
got lots of this kind of stuff to attend to myself. For God's sake 
give him a job, give him a dividend, buy something for him; do 
anything under heaven, but don't let him write me letters. 

You see, Mr. Harrah had to have his little joke. But hav- 
ing had it, he on the same day — probably the two letters 
went off in the same mail — wrote to Mr. Simonds as follows: 

Walter A. Simonds, Esq. 

Hotel Bellevue, Boston, Mass. 

Oct. 22, 1897. 
Dear Sir: — 

We are in receipt of your favor of the 20th inst. 

Mr. Taylor was on the staff of this Company from some time in 
1879 until the fall of 1890; during the latter portion of which period 
he was the Company's Engineer. 

In reply I would answer: — 

(i) Mr. Taylor did have full authority to introduce his methods. 

(2) There are now in use at these works to a greater extent than 
they were at the time Mr. Taylor first introduced them, because the 
Works are much larger than they were when Mr. Taylor was in the 
employ of the Company. 

(3) If Mr. Taylor's methods were not considered advantageous 
they would have been thrown out long ago by Mr. Harrah, President, 
or by Mr. Petre, Superintendent, neither of whom is actuated by any 
sentiment in the management of the Company. 

We take advantage of this opportunity to place on record our high 
regard for Mr. Taylor, both in his private capacity, as an honorable 
gentleman and a hard working man — and in his professional capac- 
ity, as one of the leading Engineers of the country today. 

Mr. Taylor has left at Midvale in our Forging Department a 
hammer which will be a monument to his ability as a mechanic, as 
well as to his scientific attainments long after Mr. Taylor will have 
passed away. 


Any further information that you may ask of us we shall be most 
happy to give you. 
We are, 

Yours most obediently, 

The Midvale Steel Co., 
Per Chas. J. Harrah, President. 

When Taylor received the letter Harrah addressed to him, 
he wrote in reply a full explanation of the trouble he was 
having in Fitchburg. To this Harrah responded: 

It was quite unnecessary; I understood the situation fully; I think 
you and I know one another sufficiently well to know who we are 
and what we are at. Don't let those fellows bother you. The best 
evidence of your success is the hostility which you have inspired and 
the criticisms to which you have been subjected. I have known people 
to speak ill even of me and of John Wanamaker. 

Though Midvale did not throw out Taylor's methods, it 
began, not long after he left there, to slough them off. Not 
deliberately or consciously. Seven years after Taylor's de- 
parture, Harrah could write with entire sincerity that they 
were continuing to practice those methods j he honestly 
thought they were — and no doubt they really were, to a 
certain extent. No place that once has felt the real Taylor 
touch is likely to lose it wholly. At Midvale, for example, 
they continued to act on the Taylor principle that men cannot 
be induced to do an extra-ordinary day's work for an ordi- 
nary day's pay. Beneath the cynicism Charles J. Harrah af- 
fected was considerable kindliness. " Be careful of the men," 
he used to enjoin on his officers j " machines can be replaced, 
men not." He was kindly enough and enlightened enough 
to let his mechanics go on drawing $3.50 or more a day when 
in establishments all around Midvale mechanics of the same 
grade were permitted to earn not more than $2.50. And 
they attempted to continue the practice of scientific rate-set- 


ting. But as the years went by, the rate-setting fell into the 
hands of men more and more inclined to return to the old 
way of guessing. 

For this sloughing or sagging, there is a ready explanation: 
no one at Midvale except Taylor himself was imbued with 
the philosophy that lay back of his methods and mechanisms. 
In his later years Taylor came to see clearly that Scientific 
Management could not exist in any establishment until chief 
executives, planners, supervisors, and executors or operatives 
all had undergone the " complete mental revolution " in- 
volved in " recognizing as essential the substitution of exact 
scientific investigation and knowledge for the old individual 
judgment or opinion in all matters relating to the work done 
in the establishment." He saw that unless this new state of 
mind, this new outlook, generally prevailed, his methods and 
mechanisms could not go on serving the purpose for which 
they were designed j that they would remain undeveloped and 
would be practiced or operated only half-heartedly, and were 
likely soon to be cast off wholly or in part. And so he and 
his followers came to recognize that the thing of prime im- 
portance was the inculcation, the persistent teaching, of the 
philosophy. But in his Midvale days he himself scarcely was 
conscious of it, practicing it almost wholly from instinct. 

It is so easy to guess, and so troublesome to find out; and 
it is to be observed that Midvale, highly profitable though 
Taylor's methods were to it for many a year, went right on 
making money as it sloughed those methods off. There is, 
you see, no invariable relation between scientific economy of 
manufacture and the success of a business, as its success is 
reckoned in terms of money-making. The profits of a busi- 
ness depend upon the margin between its costs and its selling 
prices; and if the prices can be made high, the costs, of course, 
need not be low. And prices can be made high or held up 
where there is protection afforded by patents, combination. 


location, marked superiority of designing or of financial 
strength and ability, or some other element of monopoly or 
semi-monopoly. And even where there is free or active com- 
petition, a business, to make money, need not be any more 
efficient than its competitors. The public may sufFer from the 
lack of economy, but not necessarily the business.^ 

This means that until scientific economy becomes the rule, 
not the exception, the chances are that an outreach for it must 
be motivated by some consideration larger than that of mere 
money-making. As so strikingly illustrated in Taylor's case, 
there must enter into it some prompting of a social instinct, 
some desire to be of service to the public or to one's own em- 
ployees, or something of the professional man's pride in 

Just as it was the idealist in Taylor that embarked him on 
and held him to his course, it hardly was to be expected that 
anyone would attempt to follow in his footsteps who was not 
something of an idealist also. And when we consider that 
bound up in his ideal was the principle of reducing all pro- 
cedure to a reign of law equally binding on management and 
men, it will be realized that, leaving the present out of ac- 
count, it was by far too high an ideal for the vast majority 

^ of these things none was better aware than Taylor; the fact being 
that our foregoing paragraph is largely a paraphrase of what he wrote on this 
subject in Shof Management (p. 19). 

^ The chances are that in the future scientific economy in this country will 
be more and more enforced upon management by the money-making motive 
alone. To quote from Dr. H. S. Person's fine article on " Shaping Your 
Management to Meet Developing Industrial Conditions," the industrial history 
of the United States has, in its broad outlines and prevailing tendency up to 
this time, exhibited all the phenomena of a sellers' market, this because " we 
have been pioneers — explorers, appropriators and exploiters of a vast con- 
tinent of extraordinary resources," and our population in consequence has had 
a " geometrically increasing purchasing power." This appropriating and ex- 
ploiting period must pass, and as it passes, a buyers' market will succeed the 
sellers'. "On a sellers' market," says Dr. Person, "selling is but order-taking; 
on a buyers' market it must be real merchandising. On a sellers' market pro- 
duction is but the hasty and wasteful process of giving material things a form 
or other quality which will satisfy insatiable and not over-critical demand; on 
a buyers' market it must be more precise and economical." 


of the managers of his day. Was he foolish, then, in the 
years that followed his departure from Midvale, to spend his 
strength trying to get his ideal realized? We think not. 
Thereby it was brought directly to his own consciousness just 
what his ideal meant, and thereby he received daily instruc- 
tion in what was necessary to its realization under divers condi- 
tions and circumstances. And there also are those important 
considerations embodied in the quotation from Herbert Spen- 
cer with which, as appropriate to the general period covered 
by it, we begin our next book. 


Whoever hesitates to utter that n hich he thinks the highest truth, lest it should 
be too much in advance of his time, may reassure himself by looking at his acts 
from an impersonal point of vievp. Let him remember that opinion is the agency 
through which character adapts external arrangements to itself, and that his 
opinion rightly forms part of this agency — is a unit of force constituting, with 
other such units, the general , ower which works out social changes; and he 
will perceive that he may properly give utterance to his innermost conviction: 
leaving it to produce what effect it may. It is not for nothing that he has in 
him these sympathies with some principles and repugnance to others. He, 
with all his capacities, and aspirations, and beliefs, is not an accident but a 
product of the time. While he is a descendant of the past he is a parent of the 
future; and his thoughts are as children born to him, which he may not care- 
lessly let die. Like every other man he may properly consider himself as one 
of the myriad agencies through whom works the Unknown Cause; and when the 
Unknown Cause produces in him a certain belief, he is thereby authorized to 
profess and act out that belief. . . . Not as adventitious therefore will the wise 
man regard the faith which is in him. The highest truth he sees he will fear- 
lessly utter; knowing that, let what may come of it, he is thus playing his right 
part in the world — knowing that if he can effect the change he aims at — well; 
if not — well also; though not so well. 

Herbert Spencer's First Principles 



HE served as the general manager o£ the Manufactur- 
ing Investment Company for three years (1890 to 
1893). This experience led him to see the need of a 
new profession, that of the consulting engineer in management, 
as it is nowadays called. He practiced this profession for eight 
years (1893 ^o 1901), and in doing so was brought in con- 
tact with companies representing a variety of manufacturing 
problems. In all it furnished him with the experience he 
needed to bring about the refinement and coordination of 
methods and mechanisms marking his system in its highest 

It is true that throughout this period, except towards its 
close, he continued to think of his work mainly in terms of 
an improved piece-rate system, and as he worked out various 
minor systems which later were incorporated into his general 
system, was conscious of aiming only at " good management." 
In the midst of his intense practical activities, he hardly could 
reflect on the principles actuating his course. Nevertheless, 
the principles were there, and however unconscious he was of 
it, were directing his activities to a certain general end. Hence, 
if we would follow his activities in this period intelligently, 
we must not only have some advance knowledge of their gen- 
eral nature and of the part they ultimately played in his scheme 
as a whole, but also have a clear understanding of that which 
was the ruling or predominant spirit of the whole, or that, in 
fine, which was its genius. 

What we have seen thus far may be summarized as follows: 
For weighty reasons largely pertaining to the wage problem 


and the general contentment of his men, but all, at the last 
analysis, pertaining to the economy of manufacture, he deter- 
mined to set for his men definite tasks, thereby establishing 
for them high standards of accomplishment. To do this he 
had to standardize their methods. Also he had to standardize 
all those shop conditions upon which standards of accomplish- 
ment depend. At the same time he had to look to the main- 
tenance of his standards. Involved in all this was system- 
building and organization-building of the most intensive 
kind: the devising or selecting of standard managerial methods 
and mechanisms for controlling all the methods and condi- 
tions of work J the centralization of this control in a depart- 
ment} a new definiteness of function and of responsibility} 
the assignment along correct psychological lines of clean-cut 
tasks to planners and executives as well as to executors} the 
high training of personnel in industry, skill, and democratic 

The fundamental part played in his system by the prin- 
ciple of standardization may be read even by him who runs. 
But the reading will be in vain unless it is understood that, 
with Taylor, standardization had a definite and therefore 
limited meaning. The Century Dictionary defines a standard 
as, among other things, " a criterion established by custom, 
public opinion, or general consent." With Taylor, however, 
a standard was a criterion or model established as a result 
of scientific investigation. In this change of phrase — a very 
simple one as it appears on paper — we have the thing that 
gave to Taylor's work in industry its marked distinction, and 
that which distinguishes it particularly from the work of the 
host of " efficiency engineers." 

The introduction of new methods into industry, or even 
the patching up of existing systems, with the object of bring- 
ing about a higher efficiency, is honest work — when it is 
honestly done. But in work of this kind Taylor had little 


interest. In industry there is as much need of the right kind 
of opportunists as elsewhere. But in industry Taylor was not 
an opportunist of any kind. He was a revolutionist in the 
sense that what he aimed at was not merely a higher effi- 
ciency, but the highest. 

To aim at a higher efficiency, you have only to set up a 
higher standard than already exists — something that usually 
can be done easily and quickly. But when you aim at the 
highest, you mean the highest that knowledge makes possible; 
and so you have to defer setting up your standard until you 
have found out, not only what that knowledge is, but what 
it can be made to become. True, some investigating must be 
done even when the object simply is to improve on existing 
conditions. Strictly speaking, however, science is not merely 
the spirit of inquiry; it is the spirit of truth and the whole 
truth. It seeks not merely the facts, but all the facts. And 
between merely looking into things to make them better and 
the investigating that has for its object the discovery of the 
one best way, there is, in actual practice, a difference in degree 
so vast as to amount to a catastrophic difference in kind. 

A standard, again, has been defined as a " form, type, ex- 
ample, instance, or combination of conditions accepted as cor- 
rect and perfect." In Taylor's philosophy, however, the ac- 
ceptance was for the time beingy or as the form or type 
represented the best known in the existing stage of the de- 
velopment of the art; and when this is grasped, with all its 
implications, it will be clear that his standardization principle, 
instead of blocking progress and discouraging men from using 
their inventive powers, is essential to continuity of progress, 
and is what is needed to compel men to use their inventive 
powers to real account. 

In an address he delivered less than three weeks before his 
death,^ he said: 

^ At Cleveland Advertising Club, March 3, 1915. 


Scientific management at every step has been an evolution, not a 
theory. In all cases the practice has preceded the theory, not suc- 
ceeded it. In every case one measure after another has been tried out 
until the proper remedy has been found. Every new element has 
had to fight its way against the elements that preceded it, and prove 
itself better. All the men that I know of who are connected with 
scientific management are ready to abandon any scheme, any theory, 
in favor of anything else that can be found that is better. There 
is nothing in scientific management that is fixed. 

He did not figure that scientific management ever could be 
omniscient management. He conceived that it must needs 
be, by its very nature, a constant invitation to innovation. He 
provided for progress when, in defining the functions of man- 
agement, he said that " one man should be especially charged 
with the work of improvement in the system and in the run- 
ning of the plant." ^ 

If anything, he went to an extreme in his recognition of 
the mutability of the methods and mechanisms that went to 
make up his system. Nevertheless, his position was that until 
better were discovered, these were to be accepted and used. 
Why resort to expert investigation to discover things if these 
things are not to be utilized? And manifestly there can be no 
system, no order, unless standards are protected from change 
for the sake of change. It was his wisdom that a desire to 
improve things may degenerate into a fussy tinkering which, 
as it keeps you from seeing where improvement really or 
mostly is needed, blocks progress as effectually as a belief that 
all things must remain as they arej and it was this he had 
in mind when in his later years he picturesquely protested 
against " damned improvements." 

Unless standarization follows the discovery of best ways, 
those practicing the art will be left to rediscover those things 
over and over again. Invention means progress only when 

^ Shop Management, p. 120. 


based on the best already known. We have seen how stead- 
fastly in his own practice Taylor followed this latter prin- 
ciple. In investigating what others had done, his search was 
directed particularly to discovering the things that had proved 
most successful in practice. Hence his course in building up 
his system represented in all its particulars that continuity of 
progress which is evolution. " The rapid and successful ap- 
plication of the general principles involved in any system," 
he wrote, " will depend largely upon the adoption of those 
details which have been found in actual service to be the 
most useful." ^ 

His search showed that the " finest developments " were 
" for the most part isolated " and " in many cases almost 
buried with the mass of rubbish " surrounding them,^ and he 
rendered a high service if only by what he did in bringing 
these finest developments together. It will appear from this 
that he standardized the work of others as well as his own. 
In acknowledging his indebtedness to others he was extremely 
generous, especially in view of the fact that whatever he 
borrowed he practically always developed or in some way 

It v/as because he was a practical man that he built a system. 
Men who favored scientific management in a general way, or 
were just in favor of efficiency or of progress in general, pre- 
sented to him a spectacle of pathetic futility. At the same 
time, he was no system monger. He realized that as his 
system is applied to different establishments it must be adapted 
to the particular manufacturing problem as this problem is 
revealed by scientific analysis j that every application, in fact, 
must represent a specific development along the lines he had 
followed in developing the general scheme. Naturally his 
system attained its maximum complexity as applied to es- 

^ Shof Management, p. 202. 
^ Ibid., p. 201. 


tablishments manufacturing miscellaneous machinery; for 
there the manufacturing frohlem attained its maximum com- 
plexity. Presumably his judgment as to the amount of sys- 
tem needed in particular cases was not infallible, but system 
for its own sake was abhorrent to his economic instincts. 

A highly flexible system, and yet made up of definite 
methods and mechanisms, the whole being bound together by 
the mutual attraction of the several parts. It was an im- 
mense act of constructive imagination, not unlike that of the 
poet's. For the scientific spirit in industrial management had 
largely been an airy nothing. Such embodiment as it had 
found had been partial and fleeting. It was Taylor who 
really gave it a local habitation and a name. 

Just as he strove to intellectualize himself — that is, man- 
age his whole life according to reason, right arrangement, and 
systematic regulation — so he strove to intellectualize indus- 
trial management. In each case the central idea was the same 
— control! First we see the intellect using its powers of 
analysis, abstraction, and comparison for the setting up of 
definite standards. No sooner is this done than all things 
seem to conspire to break down the standards. And in one's 
power to resist this conspiracy lies one's control. 

So the genius of the system that Taylor built may be summed 
up in this: that from a centre corresponding to the brain 
of an animal organism, it provides for the intensive control, 
" according to clearly-defined scientific rules and formulae," 
of all the methods, implements, materials, and general condi- 
tions of work, and in consequence the volume, flow, and quality 
of work. 

As specially illustrative of his striving to intellectualize his 
work, and particularly of the part played by the central idea 
of control, let us now give attention to two particular phases 
of the development of his system in this period — mnemonic 
classification and cost accounting. 



BECAUSE the intellect has the powers of analysis, ab- 
straction, and comparison, it has endless power to 
synthesize, or construct new combinations, and to clas- 
sify, or group things according to their likeness or agreement 
and give them symbols or names. 
The analysis is the big thing. 

Mr. Taylor was a philosopher [writes Henry P. Kendall^], and 
there are two or three bits of his philosophy which have had a great 
influence on me. I think that perhaps the biggest one of these ideas 
had to do with the relative importance of analysis. Mr. Taylor once 
said that Scientific Management was 75 per cent analysis and 25 per 
cent common sense. I believe that is somewhere near correct. Prior 
to that time, I had considered analysis as a relatively small factor, 
and the constructive work the larger. Now I see that in both manu- 
facturing and sales, as well as finance, analysis is the most difficult 
and the most important. When the analysis of a proposition is thor- 
oughly made, the constructive work is reasonably simple. 

It is the way, of course, that every form of knowledge is 
scientifically organized: first the analysis, or reduction of the 
problem or subject to its elements j then the synthesis, or the 
regrouping of these elements in accordance with some principle 
of significant or essential likeness. Usually there will be 
broad general divisions (generic classes) j each division having 

^ Now interested in the ownership and management of various large corpo- 
rations, Mr. Kendall was formerly general manager of the Plimpton Press of 
Norwood, Massachusetts, and as such was the first to apply the Taylor System 
to a large printing and binding plant throughout. 



subdivisions, each subdivision sections, and so on. And as 
your classification is for use, you must have some system of 
naming or designating your divisions, subdivisions, sections, 
and subsections, so that each element or detail can be readily 

Every name is a symbol, or a sign representing with com- 
parative brevity an object with all its characteristics. It is 
primarily for the sake of brevity that practically all symbols 
exist. If when you referred to a tree you had to designate 
it as " a perennial plant which grows from the ground with a 
single permanent woody self-supporting trunk or stem," it 
is easy to see how this would hamper conversation and espe- 
cially writing. Symbols, in fine, constitute a shorthand lan- 
guage. Without their convenience, no form of knowledge 
could be developed. 

However, though every name really is a symbol, what we 
have come ordinarily to mean by symbolization is the extension 
of the shorthand principle to names themselves, and this 
chiefly by means of letters, as when a chemist uses H2SO4 to 
save himself the time and trouble of writing " two parts of 
hydrogen, one part of sulphur, and four parts of oxygen." 

The need of a special system of nomenclature or symboliza- 
tion was introduced into industry by the increasing complex- 
ity of machinery J as machines became composed of more and 
more parts, the more need there was of a specific name for 
each part. 

In 1 88 1, Oberlin Smith, destined to become a warm per- 
sonal friend of Taylor, read at the second regular meeting 
of the A. S. M. E. a paper entitled " Nomenclature of Ma- 
chine Details," in which he described the system of symbols 
devised by him for the company of which he was president.^ 

The requisites [said Smith] for a good system of names and symbols 
are: (i) Isolation of each from all others that did, do, or may exist 
^ The Ferracute Machine Company, of Bridgeton, New Jersey. 


in the same establishment. (2) Suggestiveness of what machine, 
what part of it, and if possible, the use of said part — conforming, 
of course, to established conventional names, as far as practicable. 
(3) Brevity, combined with simplicity. 

What Smith called suggestiveness in a symbol is, of course, 
the quality commonly called mnemonic, or that which en- 
ables a symbol to be easily remembered. 

Now, as Taylor began at Midvale to split up labor opera- 
tions into their elements and time them, he was confronted by 
the need of recording, classifying, and indexing these elements, 
so that each could be quickly found. He called this work the 
most difficult part of time study, and as a matter of fact his 
first two years of time study was so poorly classified and in- 
dexed that he threw it all away. As he made the care, storing, 
and issuing of tools a function of management, he was con- 
fronted by another problem in classifying, symbolizing, and 
indexing; and so it continued as he analyzed other features 
of management, tangible and intangible: the storing of ma- 
terials j the routing of workj the maintenance of the plant j 
all of the things pertaining to sales, accounting, and the keep- 
ing of costs J the tabulating and filing of data of all kinds, 
including standing orders relating to the duties of the or- 
ganization's subdivisions and of the individuals therein in- 

In fact, as he was confronted by the need of coordinating 
all of the divisions of management, he was confronted by the 
need of a system of classification and symbolization that would 
comprehend the whole scope of industrial activity. 

By utilizing the labors of such thinkers as Oberlin Smith 
and Henry R. Towne,^ and by drawing on the assistance of 
his own associates, especially Carl G. Barth, Taylor, out of a 
combination of letters and numbers predominantly mnemonic, 

^ Mr. Towne had devised for the Yale & Towne Manufacturing Company 
a system of symbols for shop accounts. 


eventually did work out such a system — at all events to an 
extent that served the needs of his time and indicated the 
lines of further development/ 

As an example of his system, and incidentally of the com- 
plexity attained by machine-tools, let us take a symbol that 
might be used by a company manufacturing such machinery 
and needing to designate specifically each part of every ma- 
chine it produces — such a symbol as M 20—72 L C i C. 
Here M designates the broad generic class represented by 
Metal- Working Machine Tools j L, the subdivision repre- 
sented by Lathes j the figures 20—72 before the L, a 20-inch 
lathe with a 72-inch bedj the first C, the Carriage group of 
parts belonging to this Lathe j the second C, the Cross-Slide 
division of the Carriage group of parts j and the number i 
before the second C, the first piece in the Cross-Slide division. 
It will be seen that the value of each particular letter and 
number depends upon its position in the symbol as a whole. 

While the construction of a machine symbol like the fore- 
going presents its own problems in analysis and classification, 
these problems derive a relative simplicity from the fact that 
all the objects dealt with are tangible and highly visible. 
Naturally it is different with such intangible things as man- 
agement functions and labor operations. 

The analysis of a subject, of course, may be for the purpose 
of organizing (i.e., reducing to order) the knowledge con- 
cerning it purely for the sake of the knowledge, or for the 
purpose of organizing the knowledge for practical use. When 
this latter is the case, as it always must be in industry, the 
analysis inevitably suggests constructive work in the sense of 
improvement j if you have enough mentality to reduce a thing 
to its elements, you surely will be led to review these elements 

^ It would appear that all the industrial systems of classification and sym- 
bolization, including Taylor's, owe much to the Dewey decimal system, well 
known from its use in public libraries. 


to see if they cannot be improved individually, or an im- 
proved combination formed. Hence Taylor's saying that 
analysis is three-quarters of Scientific Management. This is 
illustrated by his job analysis — as he listed the motions 
made by his men, he could not well have failed to observe 
them critically. It means that the very process of detail anal- 
ysis and classification tends to standardization. " You do not 
want to classify things and put them down in permanent 
records until you are satisfied that they are the best known 
for the purpose." 

The very act of recording also has a broad significance, as 
was brought out in a paper read in 191 5 before the Taylor 
Society by John H. Williams, a consulting engineer: 

It is generally recognized that, throughout the period of recorded 
history, man's intellect has not been materially augmented, and that 
the progress of later generations is due largely to accumulated knowl- 
edge, and not much to superior intelligence. It follows that progress 
is dependent upon man's ability to record existing methods, since there 
can otherwise be no accumulation of knowledge except through word 
of mouth. . . . 

The first essential in recording anything is an adequate means of 
designation. Until the advent of Frederick W. Taylor, the functions 
and the things involved in industry were thought to be innumerable, 
and for that reason were considered impossible of designation. But 
just as in architecture the mechanical drawings and plans are com- 
pleted before any of the physical work begins, and are then followed 
out to the letter, so, since Mr. Taylor's application of the principles 
of science to management, and the consequent perfecting of the 
mnemonic index, it is now increasingly customary to make indexes 
and instructions for management, and to have them carried out to 
the letter as minutely and as literally as architectural and mechanical 
plans are carried out. 

The function of the Index and Instructions in management, the 
accuracy and facility with which instructions may be written to 
symbol, and the analogy of these indexes and instructions in man- 


agement to assembled, detail, and working drawings in construction, 
are fundamentals, the comprehension of which gives some conception 
of Mr. Taylor's vision, which, though popularized, is as yet only 
superficially and inadequately understood. 

In view of the fact that really to know a thing you must 
analyze it, and that it is through classification and symboliza- 
tion that the knowledge so gained is reduced to order and 
made available, we see that as Taylor, on behalf of an indus- 
trial organization, resorted to analysis, classification, and 
symbolization, in connection not only with its particular activi- 
ties, but also with it as a whole, he was obeying for that 
organization the stern precept of the Delphic oracle, know 
thyself. For an organization, as for an individual, it is 
absolutely fundamental. But to what end? The answer to 
this can be read in what Taylor had to say in his Harvard 
lectures about his classification and symbolization of tools: 

Every trade has, through the evolution of years, developed an 
enormous number and variety of small hand implements, such as 
files, chisels, hammers, wrenches, cutting tools and abrading tools, 
of all kinds; so that in the course of every day in a machine shop, 
for example, each workman will use perhaps fifty to a hundred dif- 
ferent hand tools in his regular work. 

During the past thirty years, a scientific study of the proper shape for 
each of these implements has been made, and, as you will appreciate, 
the ultimate value of each of these implements has hinged principally 
upon the speed and accuracy with which it is capable of doing its work. 
Thus the most minute study has been made of the effect which changes 
of form and of the quality of the materials in these implements have 
upon their speed. And this time study of these implements has made 
it possible to scientifically select, from among the great number of 
tools in use, the particular tool which will do its work in the shortest 
time and produce the best kind of finish. 

In a scientifically-run modern machine shop, then, all of these im- 
plements have been standardized, and are maintained in a Tool De- 
partment in perfect order at all times, thus entirely doing away with 


the old-fashioned judgment of each workman as to what kind of a 
tool he liked best, and also doing away with his individual making 
and care of his tools. With thousands of tools, all of standard shapes, 
and which must be used in quantities every day by the working men, 
a shorthand system of naming and identifying these tools becomes an 
absolute necessity. As long as each workman had his own tools and 
himself supervised their making, their shapes, and their maintenance, 
no scientific classification of tools was imperative; but when the 
treating of tools and their shapes becomes a science, then a nomencla- 
ture and a shorthand system of identification, similar to that for 
identifying machine parts, becomes a necessity. 

The case is somewhat analogous to the naming and identifying of 
the various plants and trees in botany, and the various minerals and 
rocks in geology. Without a logical scientific nomenclature there 
would be chaos in the small tool department, and it would be im- 
possible to deliver to each workman, each day, the tools he should 
have. The intricacy of this tool problem will be appreciated when 
you realize that there are constantly in a shop, employing say a 
thousand men, from twenty to fifty thousand tools in the hands of 
the workmen, and that these must all not only be accounted for but 
inspected, sharpened, kept in perfect order, and automatically (almost) 
issued from and returned to the Tool Department. 

That is to say, Taylor, as manager, had to know the tools 
used in the shop, know them in detail, and organize the 
knowledge concerning them, in order that he might control 
them. And, whether it be consciously held or not, is not 
that the grand aim of all knowledge, of all intellection — 
namely, control? 

Previously in his manuscript Taylor had specified other 
things which management must study with a view to their 
control : " the movement from place to place of the parts 
of the machine to be built "j " the qualities, strength, and 
cutting properties of materials from which these parts are to 
be made "j "the speed and quality of all the movements 
and acts of all the workmen employed "j " the speeds and 


feeds, etc., of the various machine tools. In addition," he 
continued, " we must not forget the various stores and sup- 
plies — coal, waste, oil, grinding materials, etc., as well as 
the purchase and delivery of the raw materials from which 
the machine parts are made. 

"To recapitulate: the problem which faces modern scien- 
tific management is the daily control and the direction of what 
at first appears to be an almost uncontrollable multitude of 
movements of men, of machines, of small implements, of 
materials, and of parts in process." There was the central 
idea — control. But control in what sense? "The gist of 
the matter is," wrote Taylor, " that scientific management ^ 
demands that the acts of the men and movements of all these 
men and elements shall be regulated according to clearly 
defined scientific rules and formulae j and all of these acts 
and movements must be planned at least one day in ad- 
vance by the managers." 

We have seen that Taylor's study of the " speed and 
quality of the movements and acts of all the workmen " 
led to the modern profession of time and motion study, and 
that out of his study of the " speeds and feeds, etc., of various 
machine tools " came all of his revolutionary work in the 
metal-cutting field. What needs some consideration here is 
the " movement from place to place of the parts of the ma- 
chine to be built," or what is ordinarily called routing j this 
if only to illustrate the service rendered by him in adopting 
the " finest development " of other men, adding them to 
elements original with himself, and finally so coordinating 
them as to form a logical and coherent or organic whole. 

^ In Taylor's manuscript it originally was written "task management"; 
the word " task " being later crossed out and " scientific " substituted. The reason 
was that, in 1909, when this manuscript was prepared, Taylor still was at a 
loss to know what to call his system. For years he had been using the term 
scientific in connection with his methods quite casually, but it was not until 
the rate-hearings of 19 10 that the term scientific management was formally used 
by anyone. 


Many people appear able to conceive of routing only as 
the physical layout of plants, or the arrangement of machines, 
work-places, or departments in such order that the flow of 
work from one to another will be as much as possible pro- 
gressive or straightforward in space. Obviously this applies 
mostly to plants where the same articles are made over and 
over, and the flow of work thus can be controlled by a 
standardized plan, the simplicity of control being directly in 
accordance with the repetitiveness of the processing. 

As the work done is miscellaneous, its routing becomes 
variable and complicated, and this especially as the products 
themselves are complicated or composed of many different 
parts. For each new job there must be devised a plan for 
assigning each portion of the work to the machines or work- 
men best fitted to deal with it, and for keeping the work as 
a whole flowing straightforwardly in time. Here the stand- 
ardization cannot be in the routing plan, but in the method 
of devising the plan. 

Involved in this is an elaborate analysis of the work (from 
drawings, specifications, or samples) to determine whether 
the parts are to be manufactured specially for the order or 
drawn from manufactured or purchased stores j to determine 
the relations of the parts to one another so that they may be 
assembled as required in the process of manufacturing the 
product j to determine the kind and quantity of materials 
needed and whether they are to be manufactured or pur- 
chased or drawn from stores j to determine the operations 
which must be performed, their sequence, and so on and so 

All this study naturally must be embodied in charts or 
diagrams and in written instructions to the operatives j and 
the work of preparing these charts and instructions would be 
laborious indeed without a system of classification and sym- 
bolization by which all such things as manufacturing orders. 


operations, materials, parts in process, machines, and stores 
can be briefly but unmistakably designated. 

To Oberlin Smith, Taylor was indebted not only for ideas 
in working up symbols, but also for the basis of his routing 
system. He again paid tribute to the " remarkable system for 
analyzing all of the work upon new machines as the drawings 
arrived from the drafting-room and of directing the move- 
ment and grouping of the various parts as they progressed 
through the shop, which was developed and used for several 
years by Mr. William H. Thorne, of William Sellers & Co.," 
but added: " Unfortunately the full benefit of this method 
was never realized owing to the lack of the other functional 
elements which should have accompanied it." ^ 

As an example of what Taylor meant by this latter state- 
ment, we may show how, in his general system, his routing 
system was supported by his system of apportioning stores. 

Soon after he left Midvale, he developed the basis of his 
now famous balance of stores or running-inventory sheets j 
these showing for each article carried in stock the quantity on 
hand J the quantity on order, but not received j the quantity 
apportioned to orders for shipment or manufacture but not 
yet issued j and the quantity available for future requirements. 
As he developed his planning department, he made the keep- 
ing of these sheets a special function. Says Horace K. 

The unique features of this element of the System are: keeping 
the stores balance sheets in the Planning Department instead of the 
store room, and the apportionment in advance and subtracting the 
quantity apportioned from the quantity available, issuing as a result 
orders for the replenishment of stock when the quantity thus shown 
to be available for future orders falls to the established minimum, 
instead of when the quantity actually in stock is drawn down to a 
minimum without regard to the requirements for other orders under 

^ Shof Management, p. 201 


way in the shop which do not happen to have been called for, but 
which may be called for at any minute. As a preventive against 
awkward and costly delays, the value of apportionment in advance 
will be obvious to the reader.^ 

It has been said that Taylor resorted to classification in 
connection not only with the particular activities of an organ- 
ization, but with the organization as a whole. This means 
that he came to apply his principle of analysis to defining 
the organization's general planj thereby indicating "the 
function, the scope and limitations of the activities of each 
department and sub-division thereof and their interrelations 
and responsibilities.'* From the viewpoint of logic, this is 
the very first step in systemizing and organizing j but as Taylor 
began with no theory, and for years had no purpose other 
than that of finding practical solutions for the practical prob- 
lems he encountered in his every-day work, it was inevitable 
that he should begin with particular activities and gradually 
work up to the general j though, of course, his work in con- 
nection with the particular activities would have been without 
value if he had not had all the time a more or less adequate 
conception of their relation to the whole. 

Now, as Taylor aimed at a comprehensive analysis and 
classification, or at reducing to order and identifying every 
detail of organization and of labor as well as every imple- 
ment and every bit of material, he naturally had to deal 
with expenses and with accounting in general. Says Henry 
P. Kendall: 

The accounting in a business includes not only the ordinary book- 
keeping, but the entire clerical system which has to do with orders, 
records and costs. Accounting is the only means by which the man- 
agement is informed from time to time of the condition of the busi- 

^ " The Planning Department " reprinted in Scientific Management, edited 
by C. B. Thompson, Harvard University Press. 


ness, the progress it is making, its weak and strong points, its selling 
values and costs, and the efficiency of all its departments/ 

When accounting is thus understood, it is clear that it Is 
inseparable from the means by which an organization gains 
complete self-consciousness and self-knowledge. It may be 
called, in fact, a process of self-examination for the purpose 
of checking up progress and results. 

Of all the features of Taylor's work, this one of account- 
ing is the least known. He himself never tried to elucidate 
it for the generality, and apparently the magnitude of the 
subject has deterred others from attempting to describe it 
in any detail. Here, however, we have one of the most 
important features of his work — and one of the most 

^ From Mr. Kendall's notable address on " Unsystematized, Systematized, 
and Scientific Management," delivered in 191 1 at the Amos Tuck School at 
Dartmouth College; published in the Tuck School's Scientific Management, and 
reprinted in C. B. Thompson's Scientific Ma?iagement. 



THAT he was a pioneer in the development of modern 
industrial accounting appears from the fact that 
in the early 1890's, when he systematically took up 
this study, the practice of accounting in industry almost uni- 
versally consisted simply of preparing, after the annual in- 
ventory of stock, statements designed to show the profit and 
loss of the business as a whole, together with its assets and 

A curious phase of it is that personally he hated all clerical 
work and particularly commercial figuring. He once re- 
marked to a friend that if anyone had told him in his youth 
that he would have to learn bookkeeping, the thought almost 
would have been enough to drive him to suicide. For all that 
he was compelled to recognize the existence of square pegs 
and round holes, he never was entirely cured of his belief that 
success in any field is not so much a matter of special qualifi- 
cations as of the mill to get there, and apparently he found 
support for this belief in his own achievements. At the same 
time, it is to be recognized that his ability to work out account- 
ing principles and apply them to the upbuilding of a system 
was strictly a manifestation of his general engineering ability. 
Papers left by him show that even while he was at Midvale 
he had definite ideas about works accounting. When he be- 
came the general manager of the Manufacturing Investment 
Company, he was forced by the requirements of this position 
to give heed to the details of accounting. Three years later, 
when he became a consulting engineer, he apparently foresaw 



that unless he had an impartial critic of the efficiency of his 
methods in the form of a proper cost-keeping system, he 
would be at a disadvantage in dealing with the opposition that 
his experience had taught him would be sure to arise wherever 
he tried to introduce his methods. Thus his approach to the 
scientific study of accounting was mainly from the particular 
angle of cost accounting. And to say that when he turned 
his attention to this subject there was no general recognition 
of the importance of accurately determining, on a basis of 
ascertained and recorded fact, the group and unit costs of 
products is to put it mildly — how mildly will be appreciated 
when it is pointed out that as late as the year 1921 the 
Federal Trade Commission reported that about ninety per 
cent of industrial and commercial firms did not know what 
their costs were. 

A proper cost-keeping system of course must have behind 
it a proper general accounting system, and especially a just 
and logical method of distributing overhead or indirect ex- 
penses. Here, again, before trying to do any original think- 
ing, Taylor strove to get in touch with and to master wh^t 
at the time was the best thought and practice. In this he had 
the assistance of a professional accountant named William D. 
Basley, who had been employed by the Manufacturing Invest- 
ment Company. Apparently Basley was what nowadays 
would be called a public or consulting accountant, and as such 
had had experience with railroads. It is certain that when, 
in 1898, Taylor introduced his "method of bookkeeping" 
at the Bethlehem Steel Company, which was the last of the 
firms to employ him as a consultant, he referred to it as 
" in general the modern railroad system of accounting adapted 
and modified to suit the manufacturing business." Undoubt- 
edly railroad accounting developed much earlier than indus- 
trial. This was due to the fact that definite standards of 
accounting were forced upon the railroads soon after they 


came under the jurisdiction of the Interstate Commerce Com- 
mission in 1 8 87 J these standards having been worked out by 
a commission headed by Professor H. C. Adams, of the 
University of Michigan. 

The system Taylor introduced at Bethlehem shows that 
in the 1890's he not only had developed a comprehensive 
method of analyzing and classifying expenses and of dis- 
tributing the overhead on to the products, but also had 
grasped such principles as written orders for all procedure 
and of internal check for reducing the possibility of errors 
and thefts. More important still, his system called for 
monthly reports, and reports presented in such a way as not 
only to be readily intelligible to the company's officers, but 
also to lead them to realize the significance of the figures. 
In fact, the leading feature of Taylor's general accounting 
system would appear to be the unerring certainty with which 
it enables the manager to pick out the cause of any unusual 
cost or waste j this being another manifestation of Taylor's 
exception principle. 

In large measure these principles are now the common- 
places of all well-systemized businesses. To what extent their 
somewhat general practice is due to Taylor's influence, is 
impossible to tell. As principles are sound, clear thinkers in 
the field concerned are of course likely to arrive at them 
independently of one another. What admits of no possible 
doubt is that the position to which Taylor eventually pro- 
gressed as regards costs and the technic he developed in this 
connection is only beginning to be understood by professional 
accountants as a group and by the industrial world as a whole. 

This can best be appreciated by reference to an article en- 
titled " What Is Wrong with Cost Acounting? " published 
by Management Engineering in its issue of July, 1921, six 
years after Taylor's death. The writer, G. Charter Harrison, 
referred to the " failure of a large percentage of manufac- 


turers to adopt the methods of cost accounting approved by 
the majority of professional accountants," and ventured the 
opinion that " this refusal may be due not to a lack of pro- 
gressiveness but to a deliberate judgment that the advantages to 
be gained from these methods are not of sufficient value to 
offset the expense of their acquirement." He then continued: 

Recently the writer was present at a discussion between the general 
works manager and the chief cost accountant of a machine manu- 
facturing concern whose name is a household word and whose cost 
methods would be regarded by many a professional accountant as the 
acme of perfection. The cost system maintained by the concern in 
question provides accurate monthly information as to the cost of 
every part, assembly, and machine manufactured, and as to the profit 
and loss made on each kind of machine sold during the month; and yet 
the general works manager was so dissatisfied with the results obtained 
that he was considering the adoption of a subsidiary cost system entirely 
independent of the official cost system maintained by the accounting 

In a discussion with his chief cost accountant he expressed himself 
very strongly as to the lack of practical value in detailed cost data 
presented fifteen days after the end of the month; he drew attention 
to the absurdity of calling foremen to account for events which 
happened four or five weeks previously; he mentioned the fact that 
the operating division had set a cost standard for a certain new and 
important item of product and wished to know whether the cost de- 
partment could advise him each day as to the variances from the stand- 
ard cost of this article during the day previous. In view of the fact 
that the article in question involved the performance of several thou- 
sand operations and the cost system in force was designed with the 
sole purpose of showing the actual costs of finished machines monthly 
without reference to standards, the chief cost accountant very prop- 
erly stated that to give this information daily would be a practical 
impossibility under the existing plan. 

Let us now turn to the manuscript prepared by Taylor in 
1909 for his Harvard lectures: 


Cost accounts, under the ordinary management, furnish the 
great check which is needed upon the efficiency both of the super- 
intendents, foremen, sub-foremen and workmen. Unfortunately, 
however, it is impossible to get accurate costs within a month after 
the work has been done. Fifteen to twenty years ago I looked upon a 
correct cost system as one of the most important among the various 
elements of management, and in fact devoted a large part of my 
time to introducing systems of cost and of expense analysis in manu- 
facturing establishments. Now, however, under the modern scien- 
tific management, as far as they influence cheafness of manufacturey 
costs and expense analysis become, comparatively speaking, elements 
of lesser importance, and we generally leave them to the last in the 
introduction of our system. Our time and money is spent upon the 
front endy rather than at the rear end. We devote the energies both 
of the superintending and of the clerical force to seeing that the 
workmen actually do the work fasty and do it right, rather than to the 
collection of cost data. The daily task which every workman must 
perform renders cost analysis almost unnecessary, from the stand- 
point of economical management. 

I do not mean that the cost system should not be introduced. Costs 
are needed, in many cases, in order to regulate the selling prices; also 
for the general education of the sales department, and for deciding 
upon the future lines of progress for the business. But under scien- 
tific management what was formerly their chief value, namely, help- 
ing to get a low cost of manufacture, almost entirely disappears. 
And, as I have said before, the time and money available for establish- 
ing a system of management should be spent, first, where it will do 
the most good. It is utterly impossible to introduce all of the elements 
of good management at the same time; therefore cost systems should 
wait until the last. 

Here, again, is an extract from a letter written by Taylor 
under date of June 10, 191 1, to Charles Conrad, a paymaster 
of the United States Navy: 

My experience has led me to place less and less faith in accounting 
as a road to economy. At the best, accounting constitutes merely a 


sign post which points, if it is of the right kind, directly at the inef- 
ficient spot. It does not, however, in any way tell how this ineffi- 
ciency is to be remedied, because accounts come, in nine cases out of 
ten, so long after the actual work has been done that, unless an 
immense amount of digging up labor is gone into, it is impossible, 
even where written records of every act of every man exist, to place 
your hand upon the immediate cause of the inefficiency. 

As I told you, I think, when you were at the Tabor Company, we 
have found for economy that the record which is made up early on 
the morning of the day following the work, which shows how many 
men in each department failed to earn their bonus, is the most help- 
ful record in promoting economy. It becomes possible then, the day 
after bad work has been done by anybody, to chase it right home, 
either to the foreman, the teachers, the tool department, planning 
department, or to the workman himself, and prove right then and 
there to the men or the department just what they have done that is 

This is perhaps the simplest possible account to keep, and yet it 
results in a greater efficiency than all the balance of the cost accounts 
put together. 

I think that any detailed cost accounts which you are sending to 
Washington, particularly relating to costs of individual pieces or 
parts of machinery or apparatus, or even to the cost of individual ma- 
chines used on shipboard, will amount to very little, and will 
on the whole not pay for themselves in promoting economy, for the 
reason that those at Washington are too busy to properly analyze those 
accounts and to chase them home, and that they are too far away ever 
to make it worth while to make a special trip to the Navy- Yard to 
chase down a thousand and one slip-ups that are bound to occur. And 
if they start corresponding with their managers about these things, 
you will find that the whole time of the management will be taken 
up in correspondence, instead of promoting economy. 

Our whole experience has been that the energy of those who were 
engaged in recording facts should be put to obtaining records which 
immediately follow the work, and therefore give immediate valuable 
returns, right at the plant where the work is going on. 

The rule which I have finally adopted for all accounts is to ruth- 


lessly put out of existence all kinds of reports and records which are 
not practically used by those for whom they are intended. It is the 
worst kind of red tape to make report after report, and to submit one 
account after another, which are not actually made use of and which 
do not result in economies greater than the cost of making out the 

It was Taylor's quick perception of the futility of fost- 
mortem accounting that led him, back in the 1890's, to seize 
upon the principle of the monthly report, as contrasted with 
the annual or semi-annual. But the 1890's scarcely had 
passed before he realized the limitations even of the monthly 
report, as far as costs are concerned. He conceived that the 
question always to be answered is, not were costs wrongy but 
are costs right. 

So he removed cost accounting from the general accounting 
department and placed it in the planning room, while at the 
same time tying up the cost accounting with the main books 
in the manner that since has become known as interlocking. 

Placing the cost accounting in the planning room, he made 
it a by-product of operations, and thus got his costs coinci- 
dently with the operations. That is to say, the papers and 
slips he designed to plan and control operations became the 
documents on which was based both the cost and production 

For instance [says Kendall], a ticket made up in the central plan- 
ning department, when combined with the instruction card, serves to 
plan the work in advance; then it is used to control the order of 
work by being placed on a bulletin board; then it gives the workman 
his particular piece of work to do with its instructions how to do it. 
On this ticket [commonly called a job card] is stamped the time 
at which the work is begun and when it ends. This same ticket then 
serves to check off the progress of the work on the route-sheet. Then 
it goes to the accounting department from which the man's pay is 
made up. It is then redistributed and furnishes the labor cost of the 


particular operation on the cost-sheet of the job. From cest-sheets 
similar to this are summarized not only the costs on all jobs, but de- 
partment expenses and charges which appear in each four-week 
period statement.^ 

If excuse be needed for the attention here given to the 
accounting feature of Taylor's system, it should be found in 
its large general significance. 

His accounting affords a good example of his genius as an 
economist J he got his costs without any mechanism installed 
especially for that purpose j he got them as a by-product of 
the mechanism used in production and consequently with little 
additional expense. 

Also it is a good example of how he kept any function of 
management from setting up to be an end in itself, of how 
he made each element subordinate to the whole. He put 
accounting in its proper place as pertaining to the inspection 
function or to the general checking up of results. 

Again it is an example of how he made each element 
coordinate with all the others. Cost keeping is worthless with- 
out a means of accurately measuring the work done, or of 
determining definitely the point where one operation ends 
and another begins. This accurate measuring of work is done 
by Taylor's routing system. We have seen that without a 
proper system of apportioning stores, his routing system would 
have been subject to awkward and costly delays, and that 
such a system was provided by his balance of stores sheets. 
These sheets in turn supported the general accounting. They 
acted as stock ledgers for purchased or raw materials and 
for manufactured stock parts or finished products. Along 
with his cost sheets for work in process they served as the 
details of these accounts in the general ledger. And here 
was a perpetual inventory, as contrasted with the old method 
of currently recording transactions and balances only in the 

^ From address at Amos Tuck School in 191 1. 


case of cashj leaving materials, work in process, and finished 
product to be inventoried once a year. 

His balance of stores sheets also illustrate how he made 
the accounting a part of the control. These sheets, kept in 
the planning department, not only account for what is in the 
store room, but also control what is there. As soon as the 
materials needed for a manufacturing order are determined 
(or an order is received from a customer for an article in 
stock), a slip ordering the stores room to issue the material is 
made outj and, says Hathaway, 

It is the Balance Clerk's duty to apportion in advance the materials 
called for on these issues, and subtract them from the quantities 
available [for apportionment or reservation]. After having drawn 
down his balance available, he compares it with his minimum quan- 
tity, shown at the top of the sheet. If the balance available is in 
excess of the minimum quantity, that ends the transaction; but if 
it is less than the minimum, he must issue an order for the quantity 
indicated for replenishment. 

In fine, Taylor, as he developed his general system, made 
the same general accounting system permeate the entire plant j 
it was not something grafted on the manufacturing, but was a 
part of the very bone and sinew of the manufacturing. Thus 
he made all the information pertaining to the checking up of 
progress and results complete and lucid and readily obtainable 
at any time. All this he was able to bring about by his high 
coordination of departments and of functions, which made of 
the plant an organic whole j and back of it all lay his com- 
prehensive analysis and classification. 



THOUGH Taylor's resignation from Midvale took 
effect in October, 1890, he and his wife maintained 
their home in Germantown until the following 
spring. From Germantown they took frequent trips to Madi- 
son, Maine, where one of the paper mills of the Manufac- 
turing Investment Company was situated. Taylor also was 
frequently at the company's financial office in New York. 
In the spring of 1891, when their Germantown home was 
permanently closed, he and his wife took the first of their long 
journeys to Appleton, Wisconsin, where the other mill was 

Since he had an incurable aversion to traveling, it may be 
said that Taylor's new work involved him in unpleasantness 
from the beginning. To him a railway journey was an ordeal, 
and an ocean voyage a horror. Even when the automobile 
was perfected, he found a trip in one anything but a pleasure. 
He was prone to seasickness, and apparently was disturbed 
also by the motion of a car. Probably, however, his aver- 
sion to traveling chiefly was due to the suspension of normal 
activities it enforced upon him. With what was deepest in 
him craving the peace and quiet of the study or laboratory, 
there can be little doubt that if he could have consulted only 
himself, he early would have settled down in one spot to 
spend the rest of his days in experiment and invention. 
Activity of some kind he had to have, and this largely explains 
his horror of illness j a day spent in bed was to him as " a 
day taken out of one's life." It would seem also that it Was 
as a cessation of activity that he dreaded death. 



Not only was the traveling unpleasant for him, but he felt 
it was hard on his wife as it deprived her of a real home. 
Situated on the Kennebec River, about fifty miles south of 
Moosehead Lake, the town of Madison was in those days 
pretty much in the backwoods. Among the population of a 
thousand or two was a large sprinkling of French Canadians. 
The one hotel was of the commercial type that hugs the rail- 
road station. On their second trip to Appleton the Taylors 
decided that, though Mr. Taylor would have to keep oscillat- 
ing between Maine and Wisconsin, they would make their 
headquarters in the Maine town and there build a house. 
Returning with her husband to Madison, in July, 1891, Mrs. 
Taylor selected a site a mile or so out from the town at a 
point commanding a fine view of the Kennebec. From her 
plans the house was built of seasoned planks cut at the millj 
long and low, with a large central room surrounded by a bal- 
cony, it remained the home of the Taylors for three summers 
and two winters. 

It was here they had their first garden, a possession they 
prized in equal degree. Feeble would be the discernment of 
one who could scan the record of the minute study of the 
habits of grass that Taylor made at his later home, Boxly, 
without realizing how deep was his sympathy with the struggle 
of each tiny blade for life and expression. His interest 
in all living things was scientific, but not purely so in the 
sense that he wanted to know just for the knowing j there 
was that in him which made him long that each thing, after 
its kind, should attain perfection. The daisy owes no apology 
to the rose for not being a rose. But the daisy should be a 
first-class daisy. 

The esthetic was not in his blood j moreover, no one could 
bend his mind as he did to the study of fundamentals without 
becoming more or less insensible to the appeal of pure beauty. 
But in flowers he found a form of beauty that appealed to 


him directly. Whenever it was possible he had them on his 
desk. We imagine, however, that if a love of flowers was 
native to him, he owed his continued enjoyment of them 
largely to his wife. It was she who kept him in touch with 
that part of life of which flowers may be taken as a symbol. 
In many ways his nature was enlarged through hers. As 
she was interested in pictures, in beautiful furniture, in ob- 
jects of art in general, so was he. 

It was a country where near-zero temperatures were made 
not only tolerable but enjoyable by the dry and crisp air. 
Frequently in weather like this they went horseback riding. 
Mr. Taylor was not much of a horseman j still, when he 
found that none of the horses at Madison had been specially 
trained for the side-saddle, he would not let his wife mount 
one until he himself had tried the animal outj and that he 
made the try-out thorough will be recognized when it is 
said that he rode the horse, not only in the side-saddle his 
wife was to use, but in a skirt borrowed from her. It is easy 
to imagine the awe with which the natives viewed this action 
by the city manj but Lord bless you! appearances never con- 
cerned Fred Taylor. 

It became a lively place, this rustic home of theirs. To 
meet the situation created by Mr.Taylor's frequent absences 
in Appleton and in New York, Mrs. Taylor's relatives and 
friends came up for long visits, and among them there was 
sure to be at least one person proficient at the piano. Much 
entertaining was done for the young and more or less lonely 
city men who had come up to help run the new paper mill. 
It appealed to the ladies to give these young men an oppor- 
tunity to spruce up there in the " backwoods," and it always 
was Frederick Taylor's principle to throw his home open to 
all who could come and enjoy it. For the young men at the 
mill he felt a deep responsibility. By day he ruled them im- 
periously, and in the evening gathered them into his home 


and explained the reason for it, expounding to them his doc- 
trine of hard work and of grit and pluck and get there. 

It will be recalled that it was in Maine that John W^inslow, 
the Quaker minister-mechanic, and Thankful Hussey, that 
remarkable Quaker woman preacher, lived and taught their 
democratic religion. And now, just about a hundred years 
later, and about seventy-five miles north of the spot where 
they lived, we find their great-grandson j he also a minister- 
mechanic, he too a preacher. 

Typical of the way Taylor dealt with his young men is the 
case of Charles L. Holmes, who in his later years became 
president of the Waterbury (Connecticut) Trust Company. 
" It is my belief," says Mr. Holmes, " that in a man's life 
he has only one great experience, and my great experience was 
meeting Mr. Taylor." Eventually Taylor sat down with 
Holmes, analyzed his capabilities, showed him that the work 
he then was attempting was not in line with them, and ad- 
vised him as to the work he ought to take up. We can well 
believe that the talk was shot through with kindling thought 
and glowing word, and the value Mr. Holmes attaches to it 
can be read in the words of his just quoted.^ 

Another young man who there in Maine had his career in- 
fluenced in a still more direct way was Sanf ord E. Thompson, 
destined to make an exhaustive application of Taylor's time- 
study methods to all kinds of work in the building trades, 
and to become one of the leading Taylor engineers in manage- 
ment. Upon his graduation in 1889 from the Massachusetts 
Institute of Technology with the degree of civil engineer, 
Thompson was employed by a pulp and paper company at 
Solon, Maine. Hearing there that the Manufacturing Invest- 
ment Company was teaching young men the sulphite business, 

1 From the writer's own first-hand knowledge he considers it safe to say 
that there are literally scores of men in industry today who can trace the be- 
ginning of their development to some contact with Taylor's personality of 
power and fire. 


he applied to this latter company for a position, and was em- 
ployed by it in July, 1890. In the following year he be- 
came the superintendent of construction at the Madison mill, 
and stayed there after the mill was started. 

In the process of converting wood into paper, the wood, 
along with sulphurous acid, is placed in a steel tank known as 
a digester, and there cooked with steam until it is reduced to 
the substance called sulphite pulp. A cooking then took 
about forty hours. Throughout this period the man in charge 
had to regulate the temperatures and pressures, and occasion- 
ally draw out a sample of the liquor j the cooking, now reduced 
to a science, then being a matter of individual judgment.^ 
In the course of his training, young Thompson ran a cooking 
throughout the whole period of forty hours, and when it 
proved to be not a perfect one, volunteered for another trick at 
it to get it just right. Scarcely anything could have appealed 
to Fred Taylor more than that, and when Thompson later 
revealed a genius for patient investigation approximating that 
of his chief himself, a firm basis was laid for their permanent 

Again with Mr. Whitney's company Taylor showed that 
the executive in him always was likely to lapse into the 
engineer, and his typical student's habit of becoming absorbed 
in his intellect often made him seem inconsiderate. It would 
appear, however, that sooner or later he always woke up. 
In his Madison office were five stenographers, among them the 
Miss Frances Mitchell who became his secretary many years 
later at Boxly. Frequently he did not come in to dictate until 
just before noon, and thus made necessary a scramble to get 
the mail off on the two o'clock train. " But," said Miss 
Mitchell, " he always eventually did something so nice as more 
than made up for the irritation he caused you." One day, 

^ In his later years Thompson was destined to return to the sulphite business 
in his capacity of consultant, and it was largely through his instrumentality 
that the cooking was reduced to a science. 


for instance, he was seen approaching on horseback with some- 
thing bulky wrapped in a newspaper. Again his disregard 
of appearances. But when in the office he removed the news- 
paper, what should appear but five bouquets of sweet peas. 
Incidentally he was much embarrassed when he found he had 
overlooked the girl who served as filing clerk. His solution 
of the difficulty was to have Miss Mitchell give her bouquet 
to that clerk, and on the following day Miss Mitchell re- 
ceived a bouquet twice as large as any of the rest. 

His judgments of persons usually were good, and often 
keen and shrewd. He could become the victim of prejudices 
both against and in favor of menj but on the whole, espe- 
cially in his later years, he applied his analytical mind to the 
study of men's characters and abilities uninfluenced by any 
feeling. A weakness he now and then exhibited was that of 
permitting himself to be imposed upon by men whose ability 
chiefly was that of " putting up a game of talk." With all 
his sagacity he suffered, in the manner of those who them- 
selves are high minded, from being a little too ready to be- 
lieve the best of people, and once he put confidence in a 
person, he withdrew it with extreme reluctance. 

It would seem again that the ability of smooth talkers to 
impose upon him, especially in the years following those he 
spent with Mr. Whitney's company, was largely to be ex- 
plained by the opposition he usually encountered — so ac- 
customed was he to being opposed that, as it has been put with 
humorous exaggeration, "when a man showed symptoms of 
agreeing with him, he was ready to fall on his neck." True, 
it did have its humorous aspect, this and the fact that as he 
went on it became more and more so with him that no sooner 
did a man start to question one of his orders than he was 
likely to classify that man as one of " those damned kickers " 
and call on all his terroristic methods to reduce him to sub- 
mission. Yet, bespeaking as it did the amount of opposition 


faced by this highly sensitized man with his student's love 
of peace and quiet, it also had its undertone not far removed 
from the tragic. In passing it needs to be said that whenever 
one of " those damned kickers " could prove to Taylor that 
he had the facts or reason or right on his side, no one could 
have been more appreciative than Taylor as that man stood 
up and refused to be dragooned. 

Hint has been given that his three years with the Manu- 
facturing Investment Company were not altogether pleasant. 
The fact probably is that they were the unhappiest of his life. 
Though he went into this new enterprise with all the zeal 
with which his nature was charged, things went wrong from 
the beginning. 

The first big disappointment was in connection with the 
patents. What previously had blocked attempts in this country 
to make paper out of forest products was the problem of 
getting an acid-proof lining for the digester. The lining 
devised by Professor Mitcherlich was the solution, and it was 
supposed that the patents covering it were such that other 
persons entering the sulphite business would have to pay a 
royalty to the Manufacturing Investment Company. This 
proved so far from being the case that no sooner did the 
company get going than it had to face unrestricted competi- 
tion. And this was the more trying in view of the fact that 
the mill sites in Madison and Appleton turned out to be not 
as advantageous both as regards water power and the supply 
of raw materials as other of the sulphite mills that came later 
into the field. It appears that everybody connected with the 
Company was in too much of a rush. Says William A. Fan- 
non, who accompanied Taylor from Midvale: 

There was a competitive spirit started between Admiral Goodrich 
[in charge at Madison] and Admiral Evans [in charge at Appleton] 
as to who would get his mill going first. The Appleton mill suc- 
ceeded in making the first fiber; but in the haste to get these mills 


going, there were some unfortunate mistakes made in the designing, 
some of which were beyond the control of Mr. Taylor, as they were 
already made before he took charge. In this same rush, Mr. Taylor 
also made some mistakes, as did all the other men. In addition to this, 
there was inexperience as to what was needed in this new process. 

It was two years before the finishing touches were given 
to the mill at Madison. As the building was partly up when 
Taylor came, he to a large extent had to design his machinery 
to fit into the building, whereas, of course, the only right way 
is to design the building to hold the machinery. And as the 
sulphite business was then in its infancy, he had no precedents 
to guide him. 

At Appleton he found it hard to get along with " Fighting 
Bob " Evans J probably it was mostly a case of the natural 
clashing between a very positive person and a very pugnacious 
one. At Madison, on the other hand, his moral and physical 
courage won him the deep regard of that punctilious gentle- 
man and gallant officer, Casper F. Goodrich, and a friendship 
was formed between them that lasted until Taylor's death. 
When Admiral Goodrich spoke at the outdoor memorial meet- 
ing held for Taylor at Boxly, he lifted his hat every time he 
mentioned his friend's name. " No man," says the Admiral, 
" has influenced my life in so many ways or to such great profit 
to myself as Mr. Taylor." Apparently we here have the 
clew to the love merging into reverence that Frederick Taylor 
was likely to inspire in his friends of all social ranks: calling 
forth the best that was in you, you were led to associate him 
with what you most respected in yourself. 

The largest factor in making his years with the Manufactur- 
ing Investment Company unhappy was the lack of harmony 
that frequently was revealed between his principles and 
methods and those of the chief owners of the business. 

It is said that early in his association with William C. 
Whitney, that gentleman remarked to him : " Taylor, 


you don't know the first principles of business." Asked 
to specify, Mr. Whitney said: "The very first principle of 
all good business is to claim everything and admit nothing." 
Doubtless Mr. Whitney spoke with playful exaggeration, and 
doubtless also Taylor did learn some valuable things from 
him J nevertheless, the probabilities are that there was that in 
the spirit of the remark which to a man like Taylor was jarring, 

A concrete illustration of their differing points of view ap- 
parently is afforded by the contract for water power made by 
the Manufacturing Investment Company with the State of 
Maine. To Whitney, presumably, the all important thing 
was that this contract brought into use power that previously 
had been going to waste. To Taylor a very important part 
of it was that, at least in his judgment, this contract deprived 
the people of Maine of valuable rights without due considera- 

Another point of difference between him and Whitney had 
to do with what Harrah had called his habit of " making 
money fly." This habit of his, in fact, got him frequently 
into difficulty with the employers he had after leaving Mid- 

Viewing his work in the large, we can see that he was 
prodigal with money only as a great general is prodigal with 
lives j it was a present prodigality only, or one that arose 
from calculating the effect that a present expenditure may have 
in avoiding a greater one in the future. He always looked 
ahead and played for that which was best in the long run. 
When in his later years his management methods began to 
be taken up here and there, and some worried executive would 
complain that they did not seem to be producing the results 
expected of them, he was likely to reply: " Oh, wait a few 
years." His was the higher prudence of a royal mindj the 
prudence which does not refrain from spending, but spends 


His first superiors at Midvale — Sellers, Brinley and 
Davenport — were, for their period, highly exceptional ex- 
ecutives in their scientific training. And when the Harrahs 
took control, the ultimate economy of his methods had been 
largely demonstrated. Hardly was it to be expected that he 
should drop into such an environment soon again, and what 
we know is that the prudence, the economy, of most people 
is negative. It lies in avoiding. The present expenditure is 
real to everyone, but the future saving usually can be seen 
only with the eye of faith in the workings of natural law. 

William C. Whitney was too big a man not to realize that 
mistakes are inevitable, especially when one is opening up a 
new field, and he was by no means a niggard. Yet he and his 
financial associates did have difficulty in understanding the 
large sums that the company frequently was called upon to 
lay out for machinery, and it irked Taylor to have his course 
repeatedly questioned. 

It was not that he spent money for anything fancy. The 
rudest contrivance would serve as long as it did the work. 
As a matter of fact, he did not sufficiently take into account 
the real, if intangible, value that appearances may have in a 
factory. His method, as Admiral Goodrich tells us, was to 
capitalize a workman at three thousand dollars and thus con- 
clude that he was justified in spending this amount for ma- 
chinery as it did one man's work. His expenditures also were 
largely due to his policy of being thoroughly prepared for 
breakdowns, and here appears his horror of any suspension 
of activity. 

My first important contact with Taylor was at Madison, Maine 
[writes one of his friends] ; and while I was waiting for him in con- 
ference, I could not avoid overhearing his conversation with those 
who preceded me. It all sounded very businesslike and imperative; 
each man must keep hustling; each man must make his every move 
count; the work as a whole must proceed continuously and in spite of 


all obstacles. A superintendent came in to report that some work 
would have to stop, as a steel pulley had split; although a new one 
had been ordered, it would take a week for it to get there. Now, 
this would not do at all; the work must proceed; clamp the pulley 
together; replace it with some sort of spare pulley; make a wooden 
one; do something, no matter what or how, but keef that shaft re- 
volving. In all my acquaintance with Taylor, I have found that the 
dominant idea behind all his undertakings. 

Eventually he installed at Madison not only a complete 
alternate power plant, but duplicate line shafting for the en- 
tire mill. The expense of this was obvious to the company's 
financial backers, but what they could not see was the money 
likely to be saved by it. And here is an illustration of the 
difficulties he had with his later employers. Take it in the 
case of his system of caring for belting. Its expense plainly 
appeared on the books, but what never had been tangibly 
shown there was the cost of a breakdown of the belting, say, 
for half an hour. 

To be sure, there is reason to believe that his duplication of 
machinery at Madison was a little too thorough. In the judg- 
ment of some of his subordinates who were called on to carry 
it out, the duplication sometimes caused a complication that 
offset its benefit. If so, it is an example, not only of his 
tendency to make his precautions excessive, but also of his 
habit of making his orders too absolute. However, it can be 
said of his work both as a mechanical and a management en- 
gineer that as he might bring about an oversupply of things, 
it often was due to a deliberate policy based on the principle 
that as it usually is impossible to hit the mark exactly, it is 
better to have an excess which can be pruned away than a 
deficiency which has to be made up, and that it is better to 
take too many precautions than too many chances. 

One of the most elaborate and successful pieces of ma- 
chinery he designed for the Madison mill was that which, 


operated by hydraulic power, lifted logs from the river to 
the bank, and, as needed, from the bank to the mill, and also 
served to load railroad cars wjth the milPs product. Some 
of his machinery was designed not so much to save money 
as to save human drudgery, and with this manifestation of his 
social instinct he again felt lack of sympathy between him 
and the company's principal owners. 

Another manifestation of his social instinct caused a good 
deal of mirth and at the same time a good deal of kicking 
among the mill's employees. This was his course in putting 
the " barkers " to work in cages. The barkers stripped the 
bark from logs with revolving disks of edged steel, and the 
cages were designed to prevent passersby from knocking 
against them. Nevertheless, it was thought that this was 
" making a monkey of a man "j and it illustrates the general 
fact that even " safety-first " devices have to make their way 
against the ingrained conservatism of the mass. 

His difficulties at Madison were not lessened by the general 
prejudice felt in that community against the city men who 
suddenly appeared there to establish the mill with its not very 
sweet smelling fumes. Here also Taylor encountered the most 
difficult class of labor he ever had to deal with. Whether of 
the native or the French Canadian stock, those laborers, gener- 
ally speaking, were " sot " in their ways, and having no ambi- 
tion to earn more money than was needed to maintain the 
low standards of living they had inherited, were accustomed 
to working or not working as they felt like it. 

In the face of all handicaps, he made headway. It became 
the habit of those suspicious " backwoodsmen " to say of him, 
" That feller's square." On an extremely bitter night in 
midwinter, he returned to the mill to do more work. To him 
the watchman seemed insufficiently clad, and he insisted on 
that man's taking his own fur coat. Such actions as these 
made a stir, but we are not here to read any prompting save 


that of pure kindliness j the principle of noblesse oblige was 
in his blood. " Because of Taylor," says Admiral Goodrich, 
" the prejudice that had been felt in that community against 
city men generally was markedly lessened." 

He was with Mr. Whitney's company from the spring of 
1890 to the spring of 1893. In 1897 he wrote in a letter: 
'^ My remembrance is that piece work was pretty thoroughly 
introduced at the Appleton mill before I left the company. 
I think, however, that it was not much introduced at Madi- 
son." Having so much of his time taken up with machinery 
and financial problems and with getting the right men for 
the management of the mills, he had not had much oppor- 
tunity to put the labor conditions on a scientific basis. How- 
ever, the methods he introduced at Appleton were applied to 
the Madison mill after he left the company, with general 
results of a wholly satisfactory nature. 

It will be recalled that, in 1897, Walter A. Simonds, for 
whose company Taylor then was doing work, wrote to Mid- 
vale to learn what Taylor's record there had been. A similar 
letter was addressed by Mr. Simonds to the Manufacturing 
Investment Company, and in replying from Madison, Clifton 
S. Humphreys, who had become the general manager of this 
latter company, said: 

Your letter referring to Mr. F. W. Taylor has come to hand and 
in reply I would answer: 

First: — Mr. Taylor did have full authority while with this Com- 
pany and introduced his piece work system. 

Second: — It is now much more extensively used by this Company 
than at the time of Mr. Taylor's resignation, having been applied 
more generally at the Appleton mill, where it was in force under 
Mr. Taylor, and since been introduced at the Madison mill with the 
same satisfactory results. 

Third: — The facts speak for themselves. It cost by day work at 
this mill (and is now costing at other mills at present) from 18 to 
20^ per cord to bark wood. Under our present arrangement of piece 


work, it costs us 12^ per cord and each man barks 60% more wood 
than by the day and with greater economy. 

Formerly it cost us $2.75 to $3.00 to fill digesters. Now under 
piece work it is done for $2.00 with an additional saving of two 
hours' time on each cooking, which is more valuable than the saving in 
the cost of filling. 

Again, we pay 3^ per ton for unloading our coal, while it costs 
our neighbors, the Woolen Mills, with day work 5 or 6f{ per ton. 

In general, under day work system, it costs about $20 per ton to 
make sulphite pulp, while last month, under systematic piece work, 
it cost us but $8.58 per ton and our production was nearly double 
that ever made by day work. 

Had it not been for the piece work system, as inaugurated by Mr. 
Taylor, both the Appleton and Madison Mills would have been shut 
down during the dull times just past and the question of their ever 
starting up a most serious one. 

Aside from professional duties too much cannot be said in Mr. 
Taylor's favor. As an engineer one has but to consider his work. 

I shall be glad to take time and give you further information 

While Taylor remained with the company it became a fine 
operating success. We are informed that it finally turned out 
a quality of sulphite pulp that was generally recognized as the 
best. But the business panic that in 1893 swept the country 
destroyed the last hope of its having unusual earning power. 
In fact, there was now no immediate prospect of the company's 
earning anything. It was a blow to Taylor's personal finances j 
but wholly apart from any money considerations, he long 
since had decided to quit the company as soon as his contract 


THE widespread financial storm of 1893 was some 
time in gathering j and papers left by Taylor show 
that at the beginning of the trouble he was persuaded 
to consent to an amendment of his contract with Mr. Whitney's 
company by which his salary was reduced and he agreed to pay 
for immediately several thousand dollars of the common stock 
and to pay for in installments several thousand dollars of 
the preferred. To pay for the common he had to sell securi- 
ties for less than they had cost him, and to pay for the pre- 
ferred he borrowed money on a note. Owing to the situation 
of his home in Madison and the entertaining he had felt 
obliged to do there, iiis living expenses had been high. And 
now, at the expiration ef his contract, it was doubtful if 
the company would be able to weather the general financial 
storm. As a matter of fact, it did, and some of the money he 
put into it he recovered later j but for the time being he faced 
the wiping out of practically all his surplus. 

Our information is that Whitney, feeling he had taken 
Taylor from Midvale, voluntarily assumed most of the re- 
sponsibility for this situation, and did his best to keep Taylor 
with the company J first offering to relieve him of everything 
connected with the finances, and then suggesting that he take 
sole charge of the Madison mill and thus avoid the need of 
being so much away from home. Though he had questioned 
Taylor's expenditures, he continued to have great considera- 
tion for Taylor's energy, character, and general engineering 
ability. We are informed that he stated directly that it would 



be to Taylor's interests to remain in touch with him and the 
group of financiers with whom he was associated. He felt, 
in fact, that he could promise to make Taylor a millionaire 
within a few years. 

What reasons Taylor gave for declining all of Whitney's 
offers we do not know. We do know, however, that dating 
from his association in the Manufacturing Investment Com- 
pany with William C. Whitney, Daniel Lamont, and Colonel 
Oliver H. Payne, he conceived a great distaste for the general 
business methods of Grover Cleveland's inner circle of friends 
and for those of such groups of financiers who were allied with 
the Standard Oil interests. 

He was an intense manj and as he went through life he 
probably found a needed outlet for his surplus of feeling 
by building up a regular little private chamber of horrors 
thickly populated by such creatures as Germans, theologians, 
politicians, professors. Standard Oil financiers, and a miscellane- 
ous assortment of " liars " and " hogs." Even as it enter- 
tained his friends to have him trot out these his pet horrors 
and administer to them a good, sound, picturesque thumping, 
so he probably got a lot of amusement out of it himself. 
Yet it had in it much that was entirely serious, especially as 
regards the financiers. 

" Throughout my life," he said in the address he made in 
Cleveland shortly before his death, " I have been very much 
inclined toward the radical side in all things." He most de- 
cidedly was not a Socialist — not, at all events, as Socialism 
stands for class consciousness, class hatred, class warfare, and 
blind adhesion to doctrinaire economic theories. But if pro- 
test against individualism unbalanced by considerations of a 
social nature, against capitalism devoid of consideration for 
human flesh and blood, and against financial privilege, makes a 
man a radical, he was quite radical indeed. No one could 
have denounced more vehemently than he the huge combina- 


tions of capital that grew up in his day, and it all came down 
to what he regarded as their " hoggish " course. Unless you 
provide for yourself, you can be of little service to others. 
Very good. But why not know when you have got enough? 
Why shove others aside? Why not, even while you are get- 
ting yours, help others to get theirs? Why not, even in 
business, be a gentleman? That, as we understand it, was the 
gist of his feeling. 

The antipathy he developed to financiers was not limited 
to those who were associated with the big combinations. In 
191 1, when a naval constructor friend of his was thinking 
of retiring from the government service to become manager 
of a private shipbuilding enterprise, he wrote to this friend 
as follows: 

Personally my experience has been so unsatisfactory with financiers 
that I never want to work for any of them. If there is a manufac- 
turer at the head of any enterprise, such as shipbuilding or construc- 
tion work of any kind, and he is a large-minded man, that is the man 
whom I want to be under. As a rule, financiers are looking merely 
for a turn over. They want to get in and out of their business quickly, 
and they have absolutely no pride of manufacture. It is all a question 
of making money quickly, and whether the company is built up so as 
to be the finest of its kind and permanently successful is a matter of 
complete indifference to almost all of them. 

A good example of the utter lack of " proper pride " of the manu- 
facturer is to be seen in the present managers of . They are 

among the leading financiers in Philadelphia and New York, and 
absolutely refuse to spend a cent for much needed physical improve- 
ments or for improvements in management. All that they are looking 
for is the chance to unload on some one else and get out whole. 

He, of course, discriminated among financiers, but he felt 
that as a class they were interested more in juggling money 
from pocket to pocket than in bringing wealth into the world. 
He was repelled also by the tendency of bankers to foster 


safe and established concerns and frown upon new enterprises 
and daring ambition. He did not content himself simply 
with talking against this ultra-conservatism which tends to 
crush initiative and deaden the creative energies of the com- 
munity. In investing his own money, he on principle appor- 
tioned a goodly share of it to new enterprises. And in his 
will he expressly charged that the executor of his estate 
should not feel, as those who hold a fiduciary office are likely 
to feel, that it was his duty first, last, and all the time to 
play safe. 

Such an enthusiastic, intense nature as Taylor's always is 
subject to terrible let-downs 5 and he had one of these as the 
time came for him to withdraw from the Manufacturing In- 
vestment Company. " So great was this disappointment to 
Mr. Taylor," says Mr. Fannon, " that I think it affected his 
health." He was now thirty-seven years oldj his savings 
were gone or had been placed where for the present they were 
unavailable J in the plain English to which he was devoted, he 
was out of a jobj and business conditions throughout the 
country were in a state of great disorder. 

He let nothing of this appear at home, except in so far 
as it was necessary to inform his wife of the need of their 
living, for the time being, very simply and economically. He 
not only invariably shielded his wife from worry, but acted 
in every relation on the principle that it was for him to share 
his joys abundantly while he bore his troubles alone. In 
going over the copies of the thousands of letters he wrote 
in his mature years, we found any expressions of complaint 
so rare that they stood out with the prominence of a few 
rocky upheavals on a gently rolling, sunshiny plain. Oc- 
casionally his letters might speak of the heartbreak that, in 
an inert, indifferent, listless world, must come to him who is 
himself all aglow with the spirit of forward march and up 
and at itj but of this his letters spoke only as you read 


between the lines. In his reticence there appears a very lofty 
pride, perhaps an extreme of pride. 

"Tasks in hours of insight willed, can be through hours 
of gloom fulfilled." This was well illustrated by him in the 
spring and summer of 1893. While serving with Whitney's 
company he had discerned the need of a new profession, and 
in the hours of gloom immediately following his retirement 
from that company he prepared himself to practice it. How 
he came to discern its need is indicated in a letter he wrote 
in 1 9 10 to a man who, while managing a business, was having 
a hard time trying to introduce system into it. 

I hope [said Taylor] you will not get discouraged, because you are 
meeting with exactly the same experience that everyone else does. I 
am sure it is in no sense your fault. In addition to this, however, 
you have undertaken a very difficult task, namely, that of running a 
shop at the same time that you are introducing a system of manage- 
ment. We [those then interested in promoting Scientific Manage- 
ment] in all cases insist that while the management is being intro- 
duced, a separate man be made superintendent of the shop, so as to 
leave the systematizer entirely free to make rapid progress. It was 
this difficulty of running an establishment and systematizing at the 
same time which originally led me to the idea that it would be a 
profitable business to give up the work of manager and become a 
systematizer. I believe I was the first man in this country to under- 
take this work as a profession. 

In his use of the term " systematizer " we see his habit of 
calling things by their lowest names. ^ On his letter-heads 
and cards, however, he from the beginning called himself a 
consulting engineer. 

^ " The mark of the man of the world," says Emerson in his essay on Culture, 
" is absence of pretension. He does not make a speech, he takes a low business- 
tone, avoids all brag, is nobody, dresses plainly, promises not at all, performs 
much, speaks in monosyllables, hugs his facts. He calls his employment by its 
lowest name, and so takes from evil tongues their sharpest weapon." 


A rubber stamp he had prepared reads as follows: 





Essentially his new profession was that of the man who, 
representing himself to be expert in systemizing and organiz- 
ing, offers his service to a business, not as a manager, but for 
this particular purpose only, and only for such time as may 
be needed to effect this purpose, his pay usually being arranged 
on a per diem basis. As it was called for in connection with 
his systemizing and organizing work, Taylor of course con- 
tinued to practice his profession of mechanical engineer. In- 
cidentally it is to be observed that his founding of the 
profession of what is now called the consulting engineer in 
management was another example of his constant tendency 
toward specialization arising from his instinct to be thorough. 
Certainly in his own case he did well to abandon the work of 
the manager and specialize in that of the engineer. 

The beginning of all his coinprehenshe system of analysis, 
classification, and symbolization can be traced to his work with 
the Manufacturing Investment Company. His position as 
general manager of that company brought him in contact with 
all the activities of the organization, and perforce required 
him to deal with accounting.^ And now that he was to become 
a professional " systematizer," he saw he must master account- 
ing theory and practice. 

^ This address, that of his parents, was used by Taylor for mail purposes 
because up to the time he went to Bethlehem he had no settled abode. 

^ For designating items of expense he here had a crude system of symboliza- 
tion. Here also appeared his first register of accounts payable, not as com- 
plete as later worked out. His " Daily Statement of Cash Transactions " shows 
he had begun to work out the principle of internal check; the cashier, while 
not having a special bank account, did have a special account on the books, 
deposits for this account being made by the treasurer. 


Among the other providential features of his career was 
the fact that at the Manufacturing Investment Company he 
was brought in contact with the professional accountant, Bas- 
ley, who, having done work for railroads, was in a position 
to acquaint him with the best accounting theory and practice 
of the time. It is not known what arrangement he made 
with him, but it would appear that early in June, 1893, when 
Taylor had done his last work for Whitney's company, he 
summoned Basley to his assistance. It is certain that, in this 
month, Taylor retired to his rustic home on the Kennebec and 
there struggled all summer long with problems in accounting, 
especially those relating to systems of costs and of expense 
analysis, and that later on he visited the offices of various 
railroads to look into their systems. 

The general business conditions being what they were, he 
displayed a high courage in resolving at this time to establish 
himself in his new profession. The fact is that however he 
might descend from the heights of enthusiasm to the valley 
of disillusionment and discouragement, neither things present 
nor things to come, nor principalities, nor powers, could keep 
him there for long. 

While he yet was in Maine he got in touch with the com- 
pany destined to become his first client. This was the Simonds 
Rolling Machine Company, manufacturers of steel balls for 
bicycle bearings, with a factory at Fitchburg, Massachusetts. 
From Taylor's correspondence we gather that Walter A. 
Simonds, the principal owner of this company, was a young 
Boston man who then had not had much experience in busi- 
ness. Taylor had become acquainted with him several years 
before when his company acquired the right to use rolling 
machinery upon which Taylor held patents j our information 
being that, in return for this right, Taylor received stock in 
the company. 

It was in September of 1893 that he and his wife bade fare- 


well to their rustic home and went to Boston, where, not 
trying to disguise from themselves that their future was un- 
certain, and facing the fact that they must live on a scale com- 
mensurate with their actual circumstances rather than with 
their hopes, they found for the winter a boarding house the 
excellence of which was that it offered ample opportunity for 
the practice of the ancient New England virtue of plain living 
and high thinking. 

At the beginning he fixed for his services as a consultant 
a charge of thirty-five dollars a day, and later increased it to 
forty. That seems a small sum in comparison with what even 
mediocre men doing similar work get nowadays, but it was 
a fair amount in those days. It is said that some of his 
prospective clients, pretending to misunderstand him, would 
remark: " Well, thirty-five dollars a week seems a good 
deal to pay for that sort of work." But he brought them 
around J he was a persuasive man, and masterful. 

If when he left the Manufacturing Investment Company 
his fortunes were at their lowest ebb, the fact is that eight 
years later, when he left the Bethlehem Steel Company, he 
had accumulated a competency which sufficed to make him 
feel, with his prejudices against great wealth, that he no 
longer could afford to work for money. One explanation of 
the rapid rehabilitation of his fortune is that in the five-year 
period between his leaving the Whitney company and his go- 
ing to Bethlehem he found some time to do promoting work. 
With his persuasiveness, his enthusiasm, and his technical 
knowledge, he had large talents for promotion j and if he 
had viewed money as an end in itself rather than as a means 
to an end, he might well have devoted himself to this work 

One of his promotions was that of bringing about a com- 
bination of manufacturers of road-making implements. The 
competition among these manufacturers had been of the cut- 


throat kind, and apparently this had led to a great deal of 
bribing of local politicians. It would appear also that, at 
least in some cases, the manufacturers were not so much the 
corrupters of the politicians as the victims of their rapacity. 
Be that as it may, it is said that while each of the manufactur- 
ers whom Taylor approached was entirely sure of his own 
spotless innocence, he was equally sure that all of his com- 
petitors were crooks. This general belief among them that 
everyone else was a crook naturally was an obstacle to getting 
them to come together, but Taylor at length overcame it. 
For his service he claimed a fee so large that some of the 
manufacturers wanted to cut it down. But the story is that 
when they conferred about it, one of the manufacturers arose 
and said: " Noj that isn't right j any man who could get us 
crooks to work together deserves what he asks." And this 
was adopted as the view of all. 

In promoting a combination of three chemical plants, he 
was brought in direct contact with a fine example of what 
in his paper of 1903 he called the " great unevenness, or lack 
of uniformity shown, even in our best run works, in the de- 
velopment of the several elements which together constitute 
the management." Each of these plants was strong in some 
one particular while weak in others j one was good at manu- 
facturing, one good at selling, and one good in the financial 
end J the explanation being that each plant was strong in the 
particular department in which the head of the business had 
happened to receive his training. As a matter of fact, un- 
evenness of management arising from this cause is practically 
inevitable wherever a plant is not run on scientific principles. 

It might be thought there was something inconsistent be- 
tween Taylor's promotion work and his antipathy to the large 
combinations of his day. Presumably he found that the evil 
of combination does not lie in the act itself, but in the object 
it is intended to and does effect and in the way the combina- 


tion is conducted; and on the face of It, it would seem that 
the combinations he assisted to bring about were designed to 
eradicate clearly-existing evils and so served good social ends. 
Though his patents, in the main, were unprofitable to him 
personally, he did in some cases realize substantial sums from 
them, as notably with the high-speed steel patents he sold 
to the Bethlehem Company, However, his accumulation of 
a competency in this period is chiefly to be explained by the 
way he invested his money. 

Since his youth he had made, with his usual thoroughness, 
a study of the principles of investment. One of the first of 
these principles is to buy when everyone else is selling, and 
sell when everyone else is buying; and Taylor took good ad- 
vantage of this in the years immediately following the panic 
year of 1893. These were the years of the free-silver agita- 
tion, and business men generally were in the doleful dumps. 
Taylor, however, took a long look ahead and became a bull 
on the ultimate sanity of the American people and, in con- 
sequence, on the future of America. So, keeping his expendi- 
tures low, he put his surplus money into the stocks that others 
were dumping on the market. Soon after the election of 
William McKinley to the Presidency in 1896 came a return 
of general prosperity, and in the Spanish-war year of 1898 
business in many lines partook of a boom. Thus some of the 
stocks Taylor bought at panic prices increased in value as much 
as ten and eleven times. 

Returning to his engineering work, we find that in Decem- 
ber, 1893, three months after he and his wife went to Boston, 
he read his Notes on Belting at the New York meeting of the 
A. S. M. E. As writing was for him slow and laborious toil, 
he probably started this paper, if he did not complete it, at 
his home in Maine. This was his first important public utter- 
ance; important if for no other reason than that in it was to 
be read, by the discerning, his principle of relying on the 


scientific method. As a scientific treatise, however, it was 
entirely devoted to the subject of belting. The first state- 
ment of his management methods in general he reserved for 
his paper A Piece-Rate System read by him at the Detroit 
meeting of the A. S. M. E. in June, 1895. 



BOTH as speaker and writer he was well served by his 
reasoning power, his immense sincerity, his instinct to 
give out, his very personality with its force and fire. 
It is plain, however, that he was not naturally articulate — 
it long has been a truism that your doer is seldom a sayer — 
and that the success he had in advocating the cause of science- 
in management was, especially in the case of his writings, 
mainly due to will. 

Rightly feeling that rules which apply to language ad- 
dressed to the eye do not necessarily apply to language ad- 
dressed to the ear, he cultivated distinct methods of speaking 
and writing. 

Of Patrick Henry it has been said that he was " accustomed 
to throw himself headlong into the middle of a sentence, 
trusting to God Almighty to get him out." And it is reported 
of another celebrated orator, Henry Ward Beecher, that when 
some grammatical errors of his were called to his attention, 
he replied: "Young man, when the English language gets 
in my way, it doesn't stand a chance." The headlong dives 
Taylor took into sentences when speaking certainly might be 
called a caution, and what his pell-mell, repetitious, uncon- 
ventional, even violent speech commonly did to the language 
in general was enough to give a pedant convulsions. Tremen- 
dously effective on the whole, it illustrates that, however it is 
with writing, what counts the most in speaking is audacity, 

When an engineering associate wrote to him to suggest 
that he should give a larger number of practical illustrations 
of the points he made in his papers j he replied: 



I am afraid that the trouble is that the size of any such article 
would absolutely scare people off. They would not even start to 
read it. When you have a man pinned down in a chair for some two 
or three hours, he is at your mercy and you can feed him the kind of 
stuff you want, but when on the other hand he is asked to read a 
lot of stuff, he says, " Nay, nay, Pauline." 

As all the papers he wrote on his system and philosophy of 
management were designed for presentation to the A. S. M. E., 
their shortness as compared with the magnitude of their sub- 
ject was to some extent due to the rules of that society. In 
the main, however, their brevity was due to his own percep- 
tion that the man he wished mostly to reach — namely, the 
" Tired Business Man " — was altogether too languid to give 
his attention long to anything in the way of writing. His 
writing style in general hardly could have been more concise, 
restrained, and chaste. Again there is the fact that if scientific 
men usually seem to feel that it is for you to struggle to 
understand them rather than for them to take pains to make 
themselves understood, it was with him the exact opposite. To 
make what he wrote understandable by and of interest to the 
greatest possible number of persons was the ideal to which 
he devoted grinding toil, even when his subject was a purely 
mechanical one. He would, in fact, go to great lengths in 
translating technical terms into every-day ones. 

A few words now as to how his paper of 1895, A Piece-Rate 
Systeniy fitted in with previous developments at the A. S. 
M. E. 

For years after it was organized in 18 80, no one connected 
with this society apparently had an idea that it ever would 
deal with anything save engineering technic in the purely 
mechanical sense. It was left for Henry R. Towne, in his 
epochal paper of 1886, The Engineer as Economist y to bring 
up the subject of management. And by a striking coincidence 
this was the year in which Taylor joined the society. Then 


the society's vice-president, Mr. Towne said among other 

To ensure the best resuhs, the organization of productive labor must 
be directed and controlled by persons having not only good executive 
ability, and possessing the practical familiarity of a mechanic or 
engineer with the goods produced and the processes employed, but 
having also, and equally, a practical knowledge of how to observe, 
record, analyze, and compare essential facts in relation to wages, 
supplies, expense accounts, and all else that enters into or affects 
the economy of production and the cost of the product. 

In general Towne's argument was that, to a surprisingly 
large extent, works management and the methods of dealing 
with employees react on costs, and that as the man who has 
authority over the works or shop must be a man of engineer- 
ing training, the engineer should make a study of problems 
of management in order that he may be qualified to serve in 
this new capacity. 

A vast amount of accumulated experience in the art of workshop 
management already exists [continued Towne], but there is no record 
of it available to the world in general, and each old enterprise is man- 
aged more or less in its own way, receiving little benefit from the 
parallel experience of other similar enterprises, and imparting as 
little of its own to them; while each new enterprise, starting de novo 
and with much labor, and usually at much cost for experience, gradu- 
ally develops a more or less perfect system of its own, according to the 
ability of its managers, receiving little benefit or aid from all that 
may have been done previously by others in precisely the same field of 

In closing, Towne proposed that the society undertake to 
gather, by means of papers presented at its meetings, a stock 
of information regarding management. Essentially it was 
a plea for the recognition and the organization of " the Science 
of Management "j the plea being based on that principle of 


the higher cooperation for which Taylor came so firmly to 
stand J namely, that it is not permissible for men to go on 
repeating their experiences and experiments, that they should 
take advantage of one another's. How far advanced this 
paper was may be gathered from the fact that it was not 
until 19.07 that the A. S. M. E. officially recognized manage- 
ment engineering, and that up to the time of Taylor's death 
in 19 1 5 a large and influential section of the membership 
continued vehemently to deny that there could be any such 
animal as a science of management. 

There has been much speculation as to the influence Towne's 
paper of 1886 had on Taylor. The opinion has been hazarded 
that it directly inspired Taylor to take up what proved to be 
his lifeworkj but we have seen that early as 1884 he had got 
well started on the development of his system. In a letter 
to the present writer, Mr. Towne himself states: 

I have no reason whatever to believe that Taylor's work was 
prompted by anything which I did or wrote, although there appears 
to be some ground for the belief that my paper may have awakened 
him to a realization of the significance of his own work, to the 
realization of the fact that a new Science was in process of develop- 
ment, and to the importance of presenting the fruits of his work to 
the engineering world by contributing a description of it to the Trans- 
actions of the A.S.M.E. I make no claim that this was so, and those 
interested must draw their own conclusions from the facts now 

This much is certain: that if Taylor was great, Towne was 
his prophet. And in the years that followed Taylor became 
deeply indebted to this gentleman and scholar, not only for 
general inspiration, but also for generous personal support un- 
waveringly extended throughout times of acrimonious con- 
troversy. It testifies to Mr. Towne's broadmindedness that 
though as early as 1870 he began to systemize his own plant 
in a truly scientific spirit, he gladly acknowledged, when he 


had the opportunity fully to investigate, that Taylor had 
worked out the true course of a science of management. 

Following Towne's paper of 1886 only four additional 
papers dealing with management were read at the A. S. M. E. 
up to 1895. Later in the year 1886 W. E. Partridge pre- 
sented a paper, CaptaPs Need of High-Priced Labor y in which 
it was argued, very significantly, that the general problem of 
the employer was " to increase the earning powers of his men 
from year to year, and do it in such a way that the men not 
only earn more, but are more profitable to him." In 1887, 
Professor William Kent, author of the celebrated engineer- 
ing handbook, read a paper on A Problem in Profit Sharing. 
In 1889 came Towne's Gain Sharing^ this being descriptive of 
a modified form of profit sharing practiced in Towne's own 
plant.^ Then in 1891 was presented Frederick A. Halsey's 
The Premium Plan of Paying for Labor^ and to this cele- 
brated paper we must give some attention. 

What Halsey sought to correct was the evils of all three 
of the general wage systems then existing: day work, piece 
work, and profit sharing. Besides having other disadvantages, 
profit sharing in all its forms was like day work in that it 
made no direct appeal to individual self-interest. If there 
was an increase of profit, said Halsey, this always was due 
to the activity of the better workers, but the increased profit 
was apportioned -pro rata among them allj the lazy and the 
shiftless being rewarded equally with the energetic and am- 
bitious, with the natural effect of discouraging the better men. 
On the other hand, Halsey had found from his own wide 
experience that while the straight piece-work system was de- 
signed to appeal to individual self-interest and ambition, it 
seldom worked smoothly and never produced the results it 
should. A writer of skill, he vigorously attacked the evils 

^ According to N. P. Oilman's work on this subject, profit sharing, though 
systematically practiced in France as early as 1842, was not taken up in this 
country to any extent until the i88o's. 


attending the rate-cutting which had become practically 
inseparable from this system because of the difficulty of fore- 
seeing what the worker could do when stimulated by it. 

His constructive plan was to start with the quantity of 
work which the worker had been doing in the past, guarantee 
to him his usual daily or hourly wages for this work, and then 
offer him a premium for doing more workj this premium to 
amount to about one-third of what the employer would pay 
for the extra work under the daily or hourly rate. That is 
to say, Halsey would divide the value of any increase over 
present production between the employer and the worker, in 
the proportion of about two-thirds for the employer and one- 
third for the worker. Thus if the worker even should double 
or triple his output, his earnings would not be excessive, and as 
the employer would get most of the gain, he not only would 
not be forced to cut the rate but would have little or no 
temptation to do so.^ 

After Halsey's, the next A. S. M. E. paper on manage- 
ment was Taylor's A Piece-Rate System. And the first thing 
here to be noted about this latter paper is that in it Taylor 
linked Halsey's premium plan with Towne's gain-sharing 

■^ Though it was extensively practiced in this country, the Halsey plan 
apparently made its greatest appeal in Great Britain, and it would appear 
also that Taylor's paper of 1895, A Piece-Rate System, attracted more attention 
in that country than here. Following the publication of this latter paper, many 
British manufacturers organized something in the nature of a " rate-fixing 
department " — that is, instead of taking the worker's present or past output 
as a standard, they installed some apparatus for at least superficially investigat- 
ing what the standard ought to be from an absolute point of view — and in 
connection with this used the Halsey premium plan. Though Taylor's method 
was different in detail, we know that he paid premiums to labor long before 
Halsey's paper was written; but on account of the earlier appearance of the 
Halsey paper and the inability of most people to realize that the important 
thing is not the particular wage-payment method, but the method by which 
standards for labor are set up, such Taylorism as took root in Great Britain 
following the publication of A Piece-Rate System was in general called " The 
Premium Plan." And it is not of little interest that when, in 1909, George 
Von L. Meyer became Secretary of the Navy and ordered thrown out the 
real Taylorism that under his predecessor had been introduced into the navy 
yards, what he eventually proposed to substitute for it was an emasculated form 
of it specially imported from Great Britain. 


plan. True, there was between them this great difference: 
that whereas the Towne plan, like profit sharing, called for 
group action by the men, the Halsey plan, like straight piece 
work, called for individual action. However, the two plans 
were alike in the respect that each took the workmen^ s 'present 
output as a basisy and sought to induce and make it feasible 
for them to do better, by dividing the gain arising from their 
better efforts between them and the management. Thus 
Taylor said: 

Under this plan, if the employer lives up to his promise, and the 
workman has confidence in his integrity, there is the proper basis for 
cooperation to secure sooner or later a large increase in the output of 
the establishment. 

Yet there still remains the temptation for the workman to " sol- 
dier " or hold back while on day-work, which is the most difficult 
thing to overcome. And in this as well as in all the systems heretofore 
referred to, there is the common defect: that the starting point from 
which the first rate is fixed is unequal and unjust. Some of the rates 
may have resulted from records obtained when a good man was work- 
ing close to his maximum speed, while others are based on the per- 
formance of a medium man at one-third or one-quarter speed. From 
this follows a great inequality and injustice in the reward even of 
the same man when at work on different jobs. The result is far from 
a realization of the ideal condition in which the same return is uni- 
formly received for a given expenditure of brains and energy. Other 
defects in the gain-sharing plan, and which are corrected by the dif- 
ferential rate system, are: 

( 1 ) That it is slow and irregular in its operation in reducing costs, 
being dependent upon the whims of the men working under it. 

(2) That it fails to especially attract first-class men and discourage 
inferior men. 

(3) That it does not automatically insure the maximum output of 
the establishment per man and machine.^ 

^ In his paper of 1903, Shop Management, Taylor returned to the attack 
on what he called the " Towne-Halsey plan " with even more vigor. 


In viewing Halsey's plan simply as a modification of 
Townees earlier plan, Taylor dealt Halsey's pride of author- 
ship a blow. But there was an excellent reason why the differ- 
ence between the Towne and Halsey plans should have seemed 
to Taylor of far less importance than the likeness between 
them. In the respect that they both took present output for 
their basis, they both re-presented, a surrender where Taylor 
had gone ahead and fought and won. That is to say, the 
Towne and Halsey plans were based on the supposition that 
it was impossible for the management to determine possible 
output. Both thus represented in eifect a feeling of despair 
as to the possibility of fixing piece rates accurately and a re- 
sort to a compromise that would minimize evils. This was 
especially true of Halsey's plan. While Towne did not refer 
at that time to the question of determining possible output, 
Halsey made this frank statement when, at the A. S. M. E., 
he discussed Taylor's paper of 1895: 

If Mr. Taylor can determine the maximum output of the miscel- 
laneous pieces of work comprised in the everyday operation of the 
average machine shop, he has accomplished a great work, and the 
present paper should be followed at once by another giving the fullest 
possible details of his method. It is this universal difficulty of de- 
termining the possible output which is at the bottom of the difficulties 
besetting the piece-work plan, and it was its contemplation which led 
the writer's thoughts to the Premium Plan. With that plan, the at- 
tempt to determine the possible output is abandoned. Present output 
is taken as the basis. 

For years Halsey continued to disbelieve that there was 
any practical way of determining possible output, but eventu- 
ally he was convinced by the hard logic of facts and very 
generously acknowledged it. 

The fact that Taylor called his paper of 1895 simply A 
Piece-Rate System, with the cautious subtitle A Step Toward 
Partial Solution of the Labor Problem, signifies not merely 


that he yet was unconscious that involved in his work was the 
development of a comprehensive system and that he himself 
was deeply interested in the " labor end." The general talk 
in industry at that time was all of wage systems and profit- 
sharing plans designed to stimulate workmen, and for all his 
independence of thought, Taylor's sociability made him im- 
pressionable to the mental attitudes of those with whom he 
was in contact and to the general spirit of the day. 

He described his then existing system as consisting of three 
elements: " (i) An elementary rate-fixing department.^ (2) 
The differential rate system of piece work. (3) What he 
[the writer] believes to be the best method of managing men 
who work by the day," this latter having reference to his 
policy of " paying men and not positions." 

The essence of the labor problem, he said, lay " in the 
universal desire [of workmen] to receive the largest possible 
wages for their time," coupled with "the desire [of em- 
ployers] to receive the largest possible return for the wages 
paid." He called these " apparently irreconcilable " aims 
" perfectly legitimate." And he placed first among the ad- 
vantages of the system he was. describing that it lowered pro- 
duction costs while at the same time it increased wages. 

The second advantage of this system lay in the fact that 
" since the rate-fixing is done from accurate knowledge, in- 
stead of more or less by guesswork, the motive for holding 
back on work, or * soldiering,' and endeavoring to deceive the 
employer as to the time required to do work, is entirely re- 
moved." Among the other advantages which he said had 
been proved by practical experience was that " it automatically 
selects and attracts the best men for each class of work, and 
it develops many first-class men who would otherwise re- 
main slow or inaccurate, while at the same time it discourages 

^ Elementary rate-fixing was what Taylor then called elementary time 


and sifts out men who are incurably lazy or inferior." Lastly, 
it " renders labor unions and strikes unnecessary." 

This position that Scientific Management makes labor 
unions unnecessary he adhered to until his death j and what 
he went on to say about these unions in his paper of 1895 con- 
tinued to represent his general attitude toward them: 

The writer is far from taking the view held by many manufac- 
turers that labor unions are an almost unmitigated detriment to those 
who join them, as well as to employers and the general public. 

The labor unions — particularly the trades unions of England — 
have rendered a great service not only to their members, but to the 
world, in shortening the hours of labor and in modifying the hard- 
ships and improving the conditions of wage-workers. 

In the writer's judgment the system of treating with labor unions 
would seem to occupy a middle position among the various methods 
of adjusting relations between employers and men. 

When employers herd their men together in classes, pay all of each 
class the same wages, and offer none of them any inducements to 
work harder or do better than the average, the only remedy for the 
men lies in combination; and frequently the only possible answer to 
encroachments on the part of their employers is a strike. 

This state of affairs is far from satisfactory to either employers or 
men, and the writer believes the system of regulating wages and con- 
ditions of employment of whole classes of men by conference and 
agreement between the leaders, unions, and manufacturers to be vastly 
inferior, both in its moral effect on the men and on the material 
interests of both parties, to the plan of stimulating each workman's 
ambition by paying him according to his individual worth, and with- 
out limiting him to the rate of work or pay of the average of his class. 

The position he here took as regards profit sharing or " co- 
operation," as he then called it, he also maintained during 
the rest of his career: 

Cooperation, or profit sharing, has entered the mind of every student 
of the subject as one of the possible and most attractive solutions of 


the [labor] problem; and there have been certain instances, both in 
England and France, of at least a partial success of cooperative ex- 

So far as I know, however, these trials have been made either in 
small towns, remote from the manufacturing centres, or in industries 
which in many respects are not subject to ordinary manufacturing 

Cooperative experiments have failed, and, I think, are generally 
destined to fail, for several reasons, the first and most important of 
which is, that no form of cooperation has yet been devised in which 
each individual is allowed free scope for his personal ambition. This 
always has been and will remain a more powerful incentive to exertion 
than a desire for the general welfare. The few misplaced drones, 
who do the loafing and share equally in the profits with the rest, under 
cooperation are sure to drag the better men down toward their level. 

The second and almost equally strong reason for failure lies in the 
remoteness of the reward. The average workman (I don't say all 
men) cannot look forward to a profit which is six months or a year 
away. The nice time which they are sure to have today, if they take 
things easily, proves more attractive than hard work, with a possible 
reward to be shared with others six months later. 

Other and formidable difiliculties in the path of cooperation are the 
equitable division of the profits, and the fact that, while workmen are 
always ready to share the profits, they are neither able nor willing to 
share the losses. Further than this, in many cases, it is neither right 
nor just that they should share either in the profits or the losses, since 
these may be due in great part to causes entirely beyond their influence 
or control, and to which they do not contribute. 

It is highly significant that in this his first paper on man- 
aging men, Taylor issued this warning: 

Whether cooperation, the differential plan, or some other form of 
piece-work be chosen in connection with elementary rate-fixing, as the 
best method of working, there are certain fundamental facts and prin- 
ciples which must be recognized and incorporated in any system of 
management, before true and lasting success can be attained and most 


of these facts and principles will be found to be not far removed 
from what the strictest moralists would call justice. 

The most important of these facts is, that men will not do an 


attempt on the part of employers to get the best work out of their 
men and give them the standard fvages paid by their neighbors will 
surely be, and ought to be doomed to failure. 

Though his paper made about twenty-three printed pages, 
he had little to say about the standardization of general condi- 
tions, that very important element in his mechanism, the 
little being mainly this: 

. . . not the least of the benefits of elementary rate-fixing are 
the indirect results. 

The careful study of the capabilities of the machines, and the 
analysis of the speeds at which they must run, before differential 
rates can be fixed which will insure their maximum output, almost in- 
variably result in first indicating and then correcting the defects in 
their design, and in the method of running and caring for them. . . . 

But what is, perhaps, of more importance still, the rate-fixing de- 
partment has shown the necessity of carefully systematizing all of the 
small details in the running of each shop. . . . These details, which 
are usually regarded as of comparatively small importance, and many 
of which are left to the individual judgment of the foreman and 
workman, are shown by the rate-fixing department to be of paramount 
importance in obtaining the maximum output, and to require the most 
careful and systematic study and attention in order to insure uni- 
formity and a fair and equal chance for each workman. 

Mainly because of this standardization, he was prepared to 
believe that the industrial world would be slow in adopting 
his methods. 

From what the writer has said he is afraid that many readers may 
gain the impression that he regards elementary rate-fixing and the 
differential rate as a sort of panacea for all human ills. 

This is, however, far from the case. While he regards the pos- 


sibilities of these methods as great, he is of the opinion, on the con- 
trary, that this system of management will be adopted by but few 
establishments, in the near future, at least; since its really successful 
application not only involves a thorough organization, but requires 
the machinery and tools throughout the place to be kept in such good 
repair. . . . But few manufacturers will care to go to this trouble 
until they are forced to. 

It is his opinion that the most successful manufacturers, those who 
are always ready to adopt the best machinery and methods when they 
see them, will gradually avail themselves of the benefits of scientific 
rate-fixing; and that competition will compel the others to follow 
slowly in the same direction. 

In replying to the members of the A. S. M. E. who dis- 
cussed his paper, he said: 

I am much surprised and disappointed that the elementary rate- 
fixing has not received more attention during the discussion. No better 
evidence could have been produced, however, of the crude and ele- 
mentary state in which the art now stands, of determining the time to 
do work and of fixing rates, than that only one member of the engi- 
neering society which is in the closest touch with the manufacturers 
of the country should have most briefly referred to the matter, while 
thirteen engineers have discussed at length the less important matter of 
what kind of piece-rate to use. 

If only because of the title of his paper Taylor largely had 
himself to blame for thisj and here was one illustration of 
how his tendency to adapt his exposition to the mental at- 
titude and capacity of the crowd worked out, in large measure, 
to do injustice to himself as an engineer. 

All the previous A. S. M. E. papers on management had, 
like Taylor's, advocated extra-ordinary wages. But whereas 
the previous papers had advocated the payment of extra- 
ordinary wages to give workmen an incentive for doing more 
or better work, Taylor paid such wages to induce workmen 
to accept the standards determined by the scientific method. 


There was, however, a practically complete failure to grasp 
this revolutionary difference. 

At the same time, his paper did not fail to make a stir in 
some quarters. Speaking of its presentation, John R. Dunlap, 
founder of what was then The Engineering Magazine and 
now is named Industrial Management, says: 

I obtained a copy of it shortly afterwards, and was so profoundly 
impressed with its striking originahty, that, waiving the prejudice 
against the reproduction of official Society publications, I determined 
that our readers certainly should have the benefit of such authorita- 
tive, practical, and immediately available information. Accordingly, 
in January, 1896, I reproduced the major portion of the paper with 
this strong editorial endorsement, viz.: "We regard it as one of the 
most valuable contributions that have ever been given to technical 
literature." ^ 

Now, in 1894 Taylor dreamed a great dream and in A 
Piece-Rate Systef}i he told as much about it as he deemed 
wise, and in the following simple language: 

Practically the greatest need felt in an establishment wishing to 
start a rate-fixing department is the lack of data as to the proper rate 
of speed at which work should be done. There are hundreds of 
operations which are common to most large establishments, yet each 
concern studies the speed problem for itself, and days of labor are 
wasted in what should be settled once for all, and recorded in a form 
which is available to all manufacturers. 

What is needed is a hand-book on the speed with which work can 
be done, similar to the elementary engineering handbooks. And the 
writer ventures to predict that such a book will before long be forth- 

^ A list of references on the subject of Scientific Management^ compiled in 
19 1 7 by the Technology Division of the New York Public Library, shows that 
previous to 1895 neither The Engineering Magazine nor any other publication 
in this field other than the A.S.M.E. Transactions had printed any articles on 
management. From 1895 on, however, these publications carried an almost 
steadily increasing number of such articles, until in 191 1, the year after the 
introduction of this subject at the railroad rate hearings, the climax was 
reached with a total number of 219. 


coming. Such a book should prescribe the best method of making, 
recording, tabulating, and indexing time observations, since much time 
and effort are wasted by the adoption of inferior methods. 

In its entirety and its broad outline his vision was of books 
in which should be listed, together with the time needed for 
them, all those motions, properly studied and corrected, which 
men make in order to bring wealth into the world. Few ever 
gained any understanding of this dream of his. Since such 
articles and pieces are constantly changing, his idea was not to 
list and give the times (except as it might be by way of illustra- 
tion) of the motions which enter into the making of particular 
articles or pieces. His idea was to have books devoted to the 
various trades, and to list, with their proper times, all the 
elementary motions that are common in these trades or per- 
tain to the fundamental operations of a given machine — the 
motions that, as they are applied to the making of various 
articles or particular pieces, themselves vary only in their 

What he dreamed of he set out to bring to passj and so in 
his paper of 1903, Shop Management y we read: 

Mr. Sanford E. Thompson, C. E., started in 1896 with but small 
help from the writer, except as far as the implements and methods 
are concerned, to study the time required to do all kinds of work in 
the building trades. In six years he has made a complete study of 
eight of the most important trades — excavation, masonry (including 
sewer-work and paving), carpentry, concrete and cement work, lath- 
ing and plastering, slating and roofing and rock quarrying. 

Further on in Shop Management^ after quoting the predic- 
tion he had made in his paper of 1895, Taylor said: 

Unfortunately this prediction has not yet been realized. The 
writer's chief object in inducing Mr. Thompson to undertake a sci- 
entific study of the various building trades and to join him in a pub- 
lication of this work was to demonstrate on a large scale not only the 


desirability of accurate time study, but the efficiency and superiority 
of the method of studying elementary units as outlined above. He 
trusts that his object may be realized and that the publication of this 
book may be followed by similar works on other trades and more 
particularly on the details of machine shop practice, in which he is 
especially interested. 

His prediction of a book giving machrine-shop times was, 
in particular, thought to be a crank's notion, since here the 
difficulties were immense j but it was a dream he never 
abandoned. To the end he continued to predict that such 
books would come for all the trades, saying in the address 
he made in Cleveland just before his death: 

I have before me something which has been gathering in for about 
fourteen years, the time or motion study of the machine shop. It will 
take probably four or five years more before the first book will be 
ready to publish on that subject. There is a collection of sixty or 
seventy thousand elements affecting machine shop work. After a few 
years — say three, four or five years more — some one will be ready 
to publish the first book giving the laws of the movements of men 
in the machine shop — all the laws, not only a few of them. Let 
me predict, gentlemen, just as sure as the sun shines that is going to 
come in every trade. Why? Because it pays, and for no other reason. 
Any device which results in an increased output is bound to come in 
spite of all opposition; whether we want it or not, it comes auto- 

What he here did not tell was that he himself was bearing 
the expense of as well as directing the collection of machine- 
shop data then in progress. For his principal associate in this 
work he had Dwight V. Merrick, who first came in contact 
with him at Bethlehem. Taylor's sudden death in 19 15 
naturally was a blow to the enterprise that he and Merrick 
were conducting jointly, but eventually Merrick resumed the 
task, or as much of it as was practical for him to undertake 


by himself, and it now has borne fruit in his book entitled 
Time Studies for Rate Setting.^ 

The reason that, back in the early 1890's, Taylor started 
out to realize his dream by getting Sanford E. Thompson 
to make time studies in the building trades was that studies 
in these trades did not involve, as in other trades, great prep- 
aration in the way of standardization. His building-trade 
studies Thompson pursued almost uninterruptedly for nearly 
seventeen years j at first devoting much of his own time to 
them and later supervising the studies of men in his employ. 

In Taylor's lifetime these studies resulted in the publica- 
tion of two books: Concrete Plain and Reinforced (1905), 
and Concrete Costs (191 2). Of these books Taylor and 
Thompson appeared as the joint authors. What Taylor wrote 
in his introduction to the latter book will apply tO' them 
both. " The writer," he said, " wishes to make it clear that 
the greater part of the credit (if there is any) for producing 
this book belongs to Mr. Thompson. The writer's part has 
been mainly that of suggesting the general methods to be 
followed and then acting as advisor, critic and financier of 
the enterprise." Speaking of both books, Thompson says: 
" Their success is due to Taylor principles." ^ 

No matter what you do, even if it be the preparation of a 

^ Published by the Engineering Magazine Company, New York, 19 19. In 
his preface Merrick says: "This volume is divided into three sections: The 
first presents the principles, methods and implements of time study 5 the second 
is an illustration of time study as applied to a line of machine tools — Gisholt 
boring mills — together with a series of tables giving the detailed times as 
established by study; while the final section, in the nature of appendices, in- 
cludes times for a number of other kinds of work, and thus shows conclusively 
the wide adaptation of the principles and methods outlined." From this it 
should appear that Merrick's book, while not a realization of all of Taylor's 
vision, is a good start in that direction. 

- Something of the import of these time studies in the building trades may 
be gathered from the fact that, whereas when construction costs ordinarily 
are figured, the cost of materials is listed in detail — so much for so many 
feet of lumber, etc. — the labor cost is given in a lump sum arrived at almost 
entirely through guesswork. On the other hand, the Taylor and Thompson 
methods are designed to enable the labor cost to be figured with the same 
accuracy as the cost of materials. 


text book, search out the one best way, adopt standards, act 
in accordance with method, and thought-out principle. So 
Taylor, in those early days, enjoined upon Thompson. Some 
of your facts you will develop through your own experiments, 
but it is not enough to make your experiments with care; 
check them all up afterwards j make sure that all your facts 
work out, not merely on paper, but actually; prove them 
practically. Also you will consult authorities; not one author- 
ity only; the views of any one man are likely to be prejudiced 
or inaccurate; consult as many first-class authorities as pos- 
sible; if their statements do not agree, sift out the reasons 
for the difference; think it out for the reader; modify it if 
necessary, but select the opinion you consider the best, and 
either omit the others or present them only incidentally; come 
to conclusions; be definite. At the start of each chapter give 
its essential elements and the conclusions to which it tends; at 
the beginning of the book present its essential elements as 
a whole; always conclusions first and reasons afterwards; your 
conclusions are what the reader wants; your reasons are in- 
teresting only in the light of your conclusions. Make your 
cross-references thorough. So Taylor instructed and advised 
Thompson. So, also, he prepared his own papers; and we 
can well believe that his method has had great influence upon 
the preparation of engineering reports and technical papers in 

Nothing in connection with his profession was too small 
for him to question. Never, he told Thompson, erase any- 
thing on a tracing if blue prints have been made from the 
tracing; cross it out and mark it over; that will show that 
the blue prints and the tracing do not correspond. The com- 
mon mark for feet (') is likely to be confused with the 
common mark for inches ('')i therefore indicate feet by the 
mark " ft." To check an article, do not use the common mark 
(V)j place along side of it a perpendicular straight line; the 


gaps among such lines will plainly show up the articles not 

While in writing his papers of 1893 and 1895 Taylor surely 
was influenced by the consideration of the contribution he 
could make to the upbuilding of his profession, there is no 
doubt that there also entered into it a " moderate and season- 
able regard " (to borrow William Penn's phraseology) for 
the strictly " ethical " advertising such papers give a profes- 
sional man. Reprints of his papers bearing the impress of the 
rubber stamp to which we have called attention were circulated 
by him in quarters where he thought they would do the most 
good, and, as a matter of fact, they had influence in bringing 
him more than one client. As his fellow engineers almost 
without exception failed to comprehend the significance of 
his papers, it hardly is likely that they were comprehended 
by any mere business man. Surely, however, they had an 
impressive look and sound. And now let us proceed with 
the story of Taylor's adventures with his clients. 



ECHOES of his adventures as a consultant are to be 
found in his correspondence as well as in his papers of 
later years. 

In 1909 he wrote to a fellow worker in the field of indus- 
trial management: " I have found that any improvement 
of any kind is not only opposed, but aggressively and bitterly 
opposed, by the majority of men, and the reformer must 
usually tread a thorny path." 

On the other hand, he realized that he had a tendency to 
go to the opposite extreme. " I am by temperament a re- 
former," he wrote to Ray Stannard Baker in 19 10, " and feel 
that I am even perhaps too prone to advocate improvements; 
that is, that I am inclined to go faster in the direction of re- 
form than is in many cases wise." 

At all times he was acquainted with the philosophy of 
conservatism, and was in fact such a conservative radical that 
he got the bricks from both the extreme left and the extreme 
right. And if, in the days of his hard struggle with those 
who had, in Bacon's phrase, a " froward retention of custom " 
and " reverenced too much old times," he had difficulty in 
keeping himself from attempting to push men along too fast, 
it hardly was strange. To act at all is to overcome some 
resistance, and therefore to assume some headiness, some vio- 
lence of direction. And holding the ideals he did in the time 
he did, Taylor either had to abandon them or fight for them 
good and hard. Moreover, much of the opposition he en- 
countered was not merely such as was inevitable, but was, as 
Barth has expressed it, " downright malicious and damnable." 



Something of the imperious attitude he assumed towards 
his clients appears in a letter he wrote in 19 10 to a young 
French engineer. 

With regard [he said] to the kind of contract which you ought 

to make with the , this is rather difficult to describe minutely. 

I always personally insist that in all essential matters relating to the 
management, the company for which I am working must do as I tell 
them, and the only way in which I have been able to enforce this is 
that I hold myself free to withdraw from the work at any time, in 
case they refuse to follow my directions. I have therefore not made 
contracts extending beyond two or three months. 

Evidently his feeling against long-term contracts started 
while he was with the Manufacturing Investment Company. 
Not only did he, as a consultant, refuse to enter into any more 
of them, but in the years that followed he advised other en- 
gineers to beware of them. 

If he demanded that his clients must do what he, the ex- 
pert, said, he always was at pains, on the other hand, to ex- 
plain in advance and in writing as much as possible of what 
he proposed to do and to see that it was understood by every- 
one, directors included. Whether in contracting to do work 
for others or to have work done for him, he was a great hand 
for having everything put down in black and white with a 
wealth of detail designed to prevent misunderstandings. As 
from a client he demanded full authority, so he assumed full 
responsibility. If, through any mistake of his, a client 
suffered material loss, he, all other things being equal, stood 
ready to make good the loss out of his own pocket. But his 
slogan was, " no responsibility without authority." 

He had some sad experiences with directors, especially with 
those of the type of local capitalist j men whose horizons are 
bounded by their communities, and who are particularly prone 
to consider that, regardless of the workmen's production, the 


local labor market is being spoiled and the company is being 
robbed if the workmen are paid anything higher than the local 
prevailing rates. That he came to have definite ideas of how 
directors should function and of what their relations should 
be to the chief executive, will appear from this quotation from 
his Harvard lectures: 

Usually the board of directors consists of men who are elected 
because they own a large part of the stock of the company, or because 
they represent others who own this stock. They should be selected, 
however, not because of ownership of stock but mainly because of 
their especial knowledge and experience in some one or more of the 
broad sections which together make up the business. For instance, 
one man should be selected for his financial knowledge, another for 
his general knowledge of the subject of management, a third for his 
technical knowledge of the needs of the trade and general knowl- 
edge of the selling side of the business; a fourth, perhaps, for his 
legal knowledge, and yet another for his engineering knowledge 
which should fit him to direct progress in this line. A board of direc- 
tors consisting of specialists of this kind is vastly more efficient and 
better able to manage the business, even although they may personally 
represent but a small part of the financial holdings, than are boards as 
usually constituted. 

The president of the company, or the chairman of the board of 
directors — it is a matter of name merely — should virtually be the 
king of the whole business, and should lead his board of directors 
rather than be a tool to be guided by them in detail; and when it 
becomes impossible for the president to lead in the carrying out of the 
general policy of the board, another man should be selected for the 
head of the business who is in harmony with their wishes and com- 
petent to lead them. 

Now, the proper functions of the board of directors would be, for 
instance, to select, after having had proper evidence presented to it, 
the broad and general type of management to be introduced in the 
establishment. For example, whether it shall be " task management " 
or " initiative and incentive." After having done this, and after hav- 
ing broadly stated the policy of the business, as to payment of wages 


and salaries, they should not mess into the detail of the personnel — 
by ordering the president to employ this man, or discharge that man, 
or promote another man — nor should they vote a reduction of wages 
or an increase of wages contrary to the leadership of their president. 

Other functions of the board of directors should be, for example, 
dictating the broad policy to be followed in the sales department, 
namely, the general character of the goods to be manufactured and sold, 
and the general type of the selling organization — whether the sales are 
to be mainly conducted through agencies or traveling salesmen, and 
the extent and kind of advertising to be used. Again, however, the 
details of the executive work should be left under the direction of 
the president. The general financial policy of the company should 
also be one of the functions of the board of directors, as well as the 
broad lines along which progress is to be made. That is, the decision 
as to the type of new product to be manufactured and sold, and the 
volume of business which is to be prepared for. 

The world's experience in all directions has demonstrated the utter 
impracticability of successfully doing executive work under the man- 
agement of a body of men, either large or small. An executive com- 
mittee of one is the best committee to have charge of executive work. 

The president of the company should be free to have as many 
advisers around him as he wants, and these men can be called execu- 
tive committee as well as by any other name; but their duties should 
he those of advisers. In all executive acts, they should be under the 
orders of the president, and they should not be allowed to control his 
acts by a majority vote. He should, in principle, occupy the same 
position as the President of the United States. He should be free, 
practically, to select his own cabinet, and then should be in complete 
command of these men. The men under him should be free to advise 
him in the most emphatic manner, but the final decision in all matters 
should rest with him, and the board of directors should not entertain 
nor act upon appeals made to them from the cabinet officers beneath 
the president. 

Directors, too, should specialize, but they should direct only 
in the sense that the course of a ship is directed when it has 
been determined to what port it shall sail. This done, the 


detailed business of getting there must be left to the captain. 
Naturally Taylor was compelled also to hold that the " cap- 
tain " should be as free from interference from those below 
him as from those above. He was as much opposed to the 
brute power of sheer numbers as to the brute power of mere 

His principle of undivided control did not, as we have seen, 
comprehend that the authority of the " captain " should be 
absolute or plenitudinary. Just as on a modern ship the 
authority of the captain does not extend to the running of the 
engine room, but is there limited by the specialized knowledge 
of the chief engineer, so Taylor's system everywhere limited 
authority as one form of specialized knowledge touched an- 
other. And in these years when he was developing various 
elements of his system, this indeed brought him trouble. 
Frequently in his writings we hear echoes of the cries of pain 
that came from old-school bosses as he stripped from them 
many of their functions and robbed them of their "author- 
ity " — that is, their power to deal arbitrarily and capriciously 
with the men under them. " As a rule, the writer has found 
that those who were growling the most, and were loudest in 
asserting that they ought to be doing the whole thing, were 
only one-half or one-quarter performing their own particular 
functions." ^ The smaller the man, the bigger, apparently, 
he wants to feelj and only gradually is it made manifest that 
as men are compelled to specialize they become possessed of 
more real authority than they ever had before. Again we 
read: " 

Through some means (it would almost appear some especial sense) 
the workman seems to scent the approach of a reformer even before 
his arrival in town. Their suspicions are thoroughly aroused, and they 
are on the alert for sweeping changes which are to be against their 

^ Shof Management, p. 145. 
2 Ibid., p. 136. 


interests and which they are prepared to oppose from the start. 
Through generations of bitter experiences working men as a class 
have learned to look upon all change as antagonistic to their best in- 
terests. They do not ask the object of the change, but oppose it 
simply as change. 

One o£ the forms his realism took in this period was that 
of making a broad distinction between men of the rank and file 
and men of the officer class, in that the former men are used 
to taking orders and the latter men are not. Thus, in " mak- 
ing men get in line," as he called it, he had two different 
methods j and among some notes he jotted down we find the 
methods he used with the average man of the rank and file: 
" Rarely reason with himj never match wits with him 5 throw 
him onto the defensive j take short steps one after another in 
quick succession without talking about them, at least until 
after they are taken j set object lessons for men to see." In 
dealing with men of the officer class he at least attempted to 
explain, even as he did with such individual workmen as ap- 
peared to him could best be handled by appeals to their reason. 
The object lessons upon which he chiefly relied to carry con- 
viction to the rank and file were set up by him at the earliest 
possible opportunity, and evidently never failed to be effective. 
Always the great difficulty came from men in the manage- 

As in this period he moved in the direction of segregating 
planning from execution and of employing men to specialize 
in the planning, this brought him in conflict with what he 

^ Experience others have had in developing Scientific Management indicates 
that the difiiculty of getting the workmen in any particular establishment to 
adopt the new methods always is in nice proportion to the lack of consideration 
that there has been shown them in the past. Where working people have been 
well treated for years, they naturally lose much of their age-long suspicion 
and fear of change. When Taylor was " systematizing," neglect, if not abuse, 
of employees was the usual thing. Not only this, but all such methods as his 
then possessed a fearsome novelty that they are far from possessing in these 
days of progressive education and development of working people, at least in 
the larger or more " civilized " communities. 


referred to as the " almost universal belief " of manufac- 
turers that " for economy the number of brain workers or non- 
producers, as they are called, should be as small as possible 
in proportion to the number of producers; i.e., those who 
actually work with their hands." ^ He vigorously attacked 
this idea in his management paper of 1903 and again in his 
metal-cutting paper of 1906. Writing in 191 2 to the chief 
clerk of the inspection department of the Boston Navy Yard, 
he said: 

It has been my observation that there is no definite relation of any 
kind in the ratio of overhead expenses to direct expenses in the pros- 
perity of a company. 

This ratio will vary very greatly in exactly similar companies, and 
yet both may be prosperous. Of course if there is a very great over- 
head expense, particularly if there is a great deal of so-called "non- 
productive labor " used, which is not used efficiently, this is a bad 
thing. I have found, however, tliat those companies which are man- 
aged in the very best way and which are earning the largest dividends 
in relation to their competitors, have the largest ratio of overhead ex- 
pense to direct expense. 

I have in mind very particularly one of the most successful com- 
panies in this country of this kind, in which the direct or overhead 
expense is four times as great as the direct labor used; and as a general 
rule I can say that the more men you can have working efficiently in 
the management, that is, on the management side, the greater will be 
your economy. 

No greater mistake can be made than to assume that economy is 
realized by cutting down the so-called overhead expense. Just the 
opposite is true in the very best managed companies. 

It has been pointed out that when manufacturers call brain 
workers non-producers, the laborer hardly can be blamed for 
believing that all those who do not toil with their hands 
are bloodsuckers. But the fact is that, with the simple and 

^ Shof Management, p, 121. 


unconscious following of tradition that prevailed in industry in 
the 1890's, the various factors entering into production were 
known, even by employers, only as a matter of general and 
hazy impression. As in his progress towards scientific analysis 
in this period Taylor was far ahead of the executives of his 
time, his voice naturally was as one crying in the wilderness. 

Before he went to Bethlehem in 1898, his principal clients, 
in the order he began to do work for them, were the Simonds 
Rolling Machine Company, with plant at Fitchburg, Massa- 
chusetts j the William Cramp & Sons Ship and Engine Build- 
ing Company, of Philadelphia (commonly known as Cramp's 
shipyards) ; the Northern Electrical Manufacturing Company, 
of Madison, Wisconsin 5 and the Johnson Company and the 
Lorain Steel Company, two allied concerns having mills at 
Johnstown, Pennsylvania, Lorain, Ohio, and Cleveland, Ohio. 
In the case of all these companies, Taylor's engagements with 
them largely overlapped. Still another concern for which he 
did some important work in this period was William Deering 
& Company, of Chicago, manufacturers of agricultural ma- 
chinery, whose plant later became one of those of the Interna- 
tional Harvester Company. 

Immediately after his conference in Boston in September, 

1893, with Walter A. Simonds, principal owner of the Simonds 
Company, Taylor was authorized by that company's directors 
to look into its management. At this time his method was to 
consider the accounting end first j he readily convinced the di- 
rectors that a new accounting system was needed, and his 
work for the company in this and other particulars extended 
well into 1894. 

Now, it is probable that ever since he left Midvale, he had 
had pangs of regret at his separation from his first love, the 
machine shop, and had been longing to continue his metal- 
cutting experiments. At all events, he, in the summer of 

1894, utilizing the reputation he had acquired among men 


influential in Philadelphia's industrial activities, proposed to 
the Cramp Ship and Engine Building Company that he re- 
organize its machine shops. His proposition being accepted, 
he began this work in the fall of 1894 and continued with it 
until the following spring. 

It would appear that he was helped in obtaining Cramp's 
shipyards as a client by his paper of 1893 on belting, and it 
is certain that his paper of 1895, ^ Piece-Rat e System^ brought 
him as clients the Northern Electrical Manufacturing Com- 
pany, the Johnson Company, and the Lorain Steel Company. 
For these latter companies he did work off and on during 

In the latter part of this year he was summoned back to 
Boston by the persons principally concerned in the ownership 
and management of the Simonds Company, they having be- 
come dissatisfied with the man who for seven or eight years 
had been the general manager of their works in Fitchburg. 
Asked what he could do to help them out, Taylor demanded 
that he be placed in sole control of the shop until April, 1898, 
and eventually this demand was agreed to by formal resolu- 
tion of the directors. 

The rolling-machinery patents through which he became 
acquainted with the Simonds people were among those taken 
out by him while at Midvale. What his position was with 
reference to the moot question as to whether the inventions 
of an employee are his own property or the property of his 
employer, he made clear in a letter written in 19 14 to Hans 
Renold, the head of a large engineering firm of Manchester, 
England. In the agreement made by this firm with its em- 
ployees it was stated that all patentable inventions made by 
them should become, for a due consideration, the property of 
the firm, and in commenting on it Taylor said: 

Personally, when I was employed by a company, I always refused 
to sign an agreement of the general nature of the one you offer. I 


insisted that I was unwilling to gamble as to whether I could or could 
not make inventions. On the other hand, whenever I made an in- 
vention inclusive in the line of the company I was working for, I 
assigned it over to them. But when I made inventions which would 
apply to many other lines outside of theirs, then I gave the company 
I was working with merely a " Shop Right " and kept all of the 
balance for myself. I never have regretted doing this, nor do I 
think that the company ever regretted the arrangement. 

That in the period with which we now are dealing he set 
great store on his patents Is indicated by his concern as he 
heard they were being infringed. " While Taylor was re- 
organizing the Simonds Company," says Wilfred Lewis, " he 
incidentally developed his ingenuity as a detective, and suc- 
ceeded in trapping a number of concerns suspected of infring- 
ing his patents. Although I have forgotten the details of 
these exploits, the impression they made at the time was one 
of admiration and amusement not excelled by any of the 
Sherlock Holmes stories I have since read." 

Beginning with 1886, there was scarcely a year when one 
or more patents were not issued to him in connection either 
with his professional work or with his purely personal activities 
such as devising improved implements for tennis, golf, 
gardening, hothouses, and moving trees. However, his gen- 
eral experience with patents was such that he came to regard 
them as useful for little else besides that of pegs marking 
stages in the march of progress. Writing in 1 9 1 1 to Wilfred 
Lewis, he said: 

I must confess that, my whole interest in patents has been seriously 
shaken during the last few years. The chances of sustaining even a 
good patent seem to me about only one in three or four, and aside 
from scaring competitors away, which they do to a certain extent, I 
feel that they are more or less of a delusion and a snare. 

A few months later in 191 1, replying to a young man who 
had asked him for advice, he wrote: 


As far as invention is concerned, I advise all my friends to give 
up any idea of making money through patenting. If you patent a 
good invention, it is absolutely certain to be stolen, and then you have 
not only the expense but the very great aggravation of a protracted 
law suit, so that my experience would indicate the undesirability of 
placing any money-making hopes in patents. 

Of course if you look upon the patent as a means to get credit 
for your invention, this is all right. However, all this is no reason 
for anyone giving up making inventions, as a matter of pleasure. I 
think there is no greater pleasure to a man of inventive faculty than 
exercising this faculty, but no greater mistake to my mind than to get 
a strong hope of making money by it. 

A great deal of the difficulty over patents he attributed to 
the fact that the judges who pass on them are not trained in 
mechanics. In another letter he spoke of the " necessity of a 
better patent court," adding that " it is impossible for these 
lay judges to do anything more than guess at the whole 

While he was serving as a consultant previous to going 
to Bethlehem, he and his wife necessarily were without a 
settled abode, and for his wife's sake it concerned him a great 
deal. Hers was not a rugged constitution j she was keenly 
sensitive to her surroundings, and her health in this period 
frequently was not of the best. In 191 3 Taylor was asked 
by Dean Gay of Harvard's Graduate School of Business Ad- 
ministration to take charge of an advanced course in Scientific 
Management, and in declining the position he wrote: 

One reason which, if there were no other, would be controlling is 
the fact that Mrs. Taylor is entirely devoted to her home in Phila- 
delphia. She spent many years of her life in sacrificing herself while 
she traveled with me when I was introducing scientific management. 
During this time she lived in many cases in the most meagre quarters, 
and was obliged to be entirely away from her friends for months at a 


In the summer of 1894, they were able to leave their 
" meagre " boarding house in Boston, and stay for a while 
with Mr. Taylor's parents in Germantown. During the 
winter of 1894-95, when he was at Cramp's shipyards, they 
had an apartment in Walnut Street, Philadelphia. In the 
spring they returned to Boston, and for the rest of the year 
of 1895 made their headquarters in an apartment in that city. 
Early in January, 1896, they went westj and until the follow- 
ing fall, as Taylor did work mainly for the Northern Elec- 
trical Manufacturing Company, the Johnson Company, and 
the Lorain Steel Company, they made their headquarters at 
various times in Cleveland, in Chicago, and in Johnstown, 

By no means without compensation did they find their 
journeyings. Writing to a professional associate in 19 10, 
Taylor said: 

The years which Mrs. Taylor and I spent away from Philadephia 
were at the time very trying ones, and yet we both look upon this 
period as the most developing, perhaps, of our lives. We were obliged 
to mingle with people from all parts of the country, and as a result we 
found the finest kind of men and women living in all ranks of society, 
and in the smallest and most out of the way places. We both value 
this experience, because of the enlarged sympathies which it gave us 
for our own kind. 

In closing his letter, he said: 

You of course know yourself the nature of the work involved in 
systematizing. It involves a mingling of war and peace, of hard 
blows and tact, which gives one rather a trying life, and I can assure 
you that this was no less true in the past than it is now. It was a life 
full of disappointments in many respects, and yet full of great satis- 
faction whenever results were achieved. 

Looking back, he always found that the big thing was the 
accomplishment. Nevertheless, the disappointments were 


bitter at the time, and one of the greatest of these he had 
at Cramp's. To his work at this place we must give some de- 
tailed attention J for while it was cut off in untimely fashion, 
it has much of importance, especially in connection with his 
general metal-cutting investigation. In fact, the great high- 
speed steel discovery he was destined to make at Bethlehem 
was the direct outcome of the experimenting begun by him 



BUILDING ships mostly for the government, Cramp's 
was a large, old-established, widely known, and finan- 
cially strong company. At the same time, its then ex- 
isting shop management was exceptionally poor, and no doubt 
Taylor there set out with high hopes to accomplish great 
things. It soon proved, however, that he hardly could have 
got into a worse place, so far as any understanding of his 
scientific economy was concerned. 

Before us is a copy of the " preliminary report " that, 
under date of September 19, 1894, he submitted to Edwin 
S. Cramp, " superintending engineer," after he, Taylor, with 
some of the company's operating chiefs, had " gone over 
several of the small details in the shops." This report shows 
that, after due experimenting, he proposed to bring about 
standard conditions as regards (i) belting, (2) automatic 
tool-grinding, (3) tool rooms, stores rooms, and tool making, 
and (4) the speeding of the machines. 

In' first giving his attention to the standardization of such 
things as these, he, as regards the introduction of scientific 
methods into a shop (and he was employed at Cramp's to 
deal with the shops only), was beginning at the beginning, 
at least from the practical point of view.^ If there are 
various kinds and types of implements in various conditions, 

^ From the strictly logical viewpoint, the work would begin by laying 
out the shop's general plan of organization, including a clear definition of 
function, authority, and responsibility. That the logical is often far removed 
from the practical is indicated by the fact that if Taylor had begun at Cramp's 
by defining the functions of the various officials and thus limiting their authority, 
he undoubtedly, as the very first thing, would have had on his hands a fine 
old disturbance. 



no proper order or system in the shop is possible. There must 
be uniformity, if nothing else. 

In the type of management advocated by the writer [said Taylor], 
this complete standardization of all details and methods is not only 
desirable but absolutely indispensable as a preliminary to specifying the 
time in which each operation shall be done, and then insisting that it 
shall be done within the time allowed. 

Neglecting to take the time and trouble to thoroughly standardize 
all of such methods and details is one of the chief causes for setbacks 
and failure in introducing this system. Much better results can be 
obtained, even if poor standards be adopted, than can be reached if 
some of a given class of implements are the best of their kind while 
others are poor. It is uniformit}^ that is required. Better have them 
uniformly second class than mainly first with some second and some 
third class thrown in at random. In the latter case the workmen will 
almost always adopt the pace which conforms to the third class instead 
of the first or second. In fact, however, it is not a matter involving 
any great expense or time to select in each case standard implements 
which shall be nearly the best or the best of their kinds. The writer 
never has failed to make enormous gains in the economy of running 
by the adoption of standards.^ 

If Standardization now can be brought about in a machine 
shop without any great expenditure of time and money, this 
was not the case when Taylor was at Cramp's. To be sure, 
he would have had a comparatively easy task had his aim 
been uniformity merely. But what he sought was the best 
from the point of view of scientific or ultimate economy. 
And while the exhaustive experimenting with belting he had 
done at Midvale enabled him, in comparatively short order, 
to set up in this particular at Cramp's standards that were 
reasonably satisfactory even to him, much experimenting had 
to be done to establish scientific standards in connection with 
the cutting tools and the speeding of the machines. And this 

^ Shof Ma}iagement, p. 123. 


mainly was because there had come into general use since his 
Midvale days tools made of the type of steel known as 
Mushet or self-hardening or air-hardening. As regards the 
speeding of the machines at Cramp's, this was there, as it is 
everywhere, though many manufacturers still seem unable 
to comprehend it, largely a matter of studying the possibilities 
of each individual machine, and the Barth slide rule, which 
enables scientific feeds and speeds to be determined quickly, 
had yet to be developed. This aside, the whole problem of 
speeding the machines naturally had to wait upon the de- 
termination of shop standards for tool steel and the establish- 
ment of standard practice for the shaping, care, and use of 
these tools. 

It has been said that since Taylor's Midvale days there had 
come into general use the type of tool steel variously called 
Mushet, self-hardening, and air-hardening. It is to be under- 
stood, then, that previous to this the only type of tool steel 
known to the trade was the ordinary or carbon steel (so called 
because carbon is the " controlling " element), which, made by 
the crucible process, had served for all sorts of cutting imple- 
ments, including weapons, since time out of mind. Now, it 
was the coming into use of the Mushet steel that directly 
led to Taylor's high-speed steel discovery, and it is important 
for us here to know just what the situation was as regards 
this Mushet steel when Taylor went to Cramp's in 1894. He 
himself has pictured this situation as follows:^ 

Some time between i860 and 1 870, Robert Mushet of the Titanic 
Steel Company in England made the discovery that if a considerable 
amount of tungsten was added to tool steel in combination with a 
larger percentage of manganese than had been before used, the 
presence of these two elements with carbon in the steel produced the 
curious effect of causing the tool to be almost as hard when cooled 
slowly in air from a forging heat as carbon tools when cooled in 
^ On the Art of Cutting Metals, pp. 219-221. 


water. Because of this peculiar property, the Mushet tools were 
called in England self-hardening tools and later in this country 
air-hardening tools. . . . 

For many years the tool steel developed by Mushet was looked upon 
largely as a curiosity. Gradually, however, the managers of machine 
shops found that by using tools made from the Mushet steel they were 
able to cut hard forgings and castings which were difficult to cut with 
the carbon tools. When this knowledge became quite general, it 
was usual for the best machine shops to have a few Mushet tools on 
hand for cutting specially difficult work, and their use for this purpose 
grew steadily from year to year. 

It was not, however, until about 1890 that there was at all a gen- 
eral awakening among managers of machine shops as to the whole 
question of the cutting speeds of tools, and it may be said that prac- 
tically up to that time Mushet tools had not been used for the purpose 
of gaining an increase in cutting speed. In fact, up to the time of 
our experiments of 1894-95 [at Cramp's], but few machines, if any, 
had had their driving speeds increased with a view to profiting by the 
possible gain in cutting speed obtainable through Mushet or other self- 
hardening tools. 

It was in 1894 that we first had the opportunity to make a careful 
series of experiments to determine the relative cutting speeds of the 
Mushet and the carbon tools. We had hitherto been prevented from 
doing so by the fact that the Midvale Steel Works manufactured and 
sold tool steel, and up to the time the writer left their employ, they 
had not gone into the manufacture of self-hardening steel, and there- 
fore would not allow us to make any experiments with it. 

Before we give the outcome of these experiments of his at 
Cramp's, a word or two may be said as to how they were 

Here, for the first time, he had a lathe equipped with an 
electric drive " so as to obtain any desired cutting speed " j 
and when in 19 12 he was testifying before the Special House 
Committee, he, to illustrate the fact that there is " no fear 
of overwork in the machine shop," went on to say: 


Perhaps I can make it clearer to you by telling you that I worked 
the whole winter of 1895, I think it was, in running a machine my- 
self. I went back and ran a machine for the whole winter in making 
a series of experiments in developing the " art of cutting metals," 
which I described to you in my direct testimony, and during this 
time I worked more steadily on that lathe than I had ever worked in 
my whole lifetime as a workman. I worked the same hours as the 
other workmen, and I tell you it was the easiest and happiest year I 
have had since I got out of my apprenticeship — that year of going 
back and working on a lathe. I worked hard from the machinist's 
standpoint and harder than I had ever worked before in my life as a 
mechanic. I was known to be a manager, and the men knew I was in 
there conducting some of the series of experiments that I have told you 
about on the art of cutting metals, and yet some of the men came 
to me and begged me not to set too fast a pace or the other fellows 
might have their rate cut as a result. 

I give you my word, Mr. Chairman, that during that winter there 
was never a day that I was overworked, and I was physically soft; I 
was a comparatively middle-aged man and had not done any work by 
hand for twelve or fourteen years, and yet I was not in the slightest 
degree overworked. 

While, of course, he did not work continuously at his ex- 
perimental lathe during this winter, he did give many whole 
days to it as well as many whole hours j and here, surely, is 
monotonous workj on the saddle of the lathe you sit with the 
speed regulator in one hand and a stop watch in the other, 
and with your eyes riveted to the cutting tool — sit there 
hour after hour " like a mummy," as Barth describes it. Yet 
Taylor was happy in doing it. We take it that this was be- 
cause his mind was at rest, that during these hours he could 
shake off responsibility and care. His, of course, was the 
type of mind that could find such a state of comparative 
lethargy attractive only temporarily j but this brings us to 
a fact that many of the critics of his management methods 
who themselves dwelt apart from industry failed, apparently. 


to take sufficiently into consideration, as when talking about 
making work interesting for workers, that at this period of 
the world there still are many thousands of men and women 
who are so worried and generally upset when called upon to 
depart from a fixed routine that the only thing you can do 
is to leave them to the routine or wean them away from it 
very gradually. 

Among the notes he jotted down for a paper on experiment- 
ing, we find these: 

The true experimenter must be an enthusiast; he should have the 
keen delight in obtaining a result that the ordinary man would have 
in finding a diamond mine. This very enthusiasm, however, leads 
most experimenters into perhaps their worst error or fault, namely, 
with a desire to always get a positive, useful result, whereas perhaps 
nine out of ten experiments when truthfully carried out must lead to 
negative results or at least to doubtful results. 

This temptation is particularly strong when a time limit is set on 
the experiment. The true experimenter sets no time limit, but is 
willing to look forward for years and plod away. 

No fact should be accepted which cannot be verified by a second 
and third experiment. On the other hand, have faith that a result 
once obtained can be reduplicated. 

He, of course, here had reference mainly to experimenting 
conducted at one's own expense. As he said in his autobio- 
graphic letter of 1910, he had as an engineer to keep his 
conscience " in very active service " to prevent him from de- 
voting too much time to experimenting and " not enough to 
the less interesting but vital end of every-day management 
and economy." There is no reason to believe that his fine old 
New England conscience failed him at Cramp's j still, he must 
needs make his experiments thorough as far as they went, 
and this necessarily consumed time and was otherwise ex- 
pensive. In his metal-cutting paper he " broadly defined the 
art of experimenting on this subject as an attempt to hold 


uniform and constant all of the elements which afFect the 
final results under investigation except the one variable which 
is being studied, while this one is systematically changed and 
its effect upon the problem carefully noted." And then he 
added : 

It is the necessity of holding these variables constant which makes 
all these experiments so difficult, causes the apparatus and forgings 
tested to be so large and expensive, and consumes four-fifths of the 
time of the experimenter. Time and again in our work it has re- 
quired days and sometimes weeks to prepare for an experiment which, 
after we have succeeded in obtaining uniformity in all the elements, 
has been made in a few days or hours.^^ 

The outcome of his experiments at Cramp's to ^' determine 
the relative cutting speeds of the Mushet and the carbon 
tools " was two important discoveries he described as follows: 

a That, comparing the self-hardening [Mushet] steel with carbon 
steel, a gain in speed of 41 per cent to 47 per cent could 
be made in cutting a hard forging of about the quality of tire 
steel; whereas a gain of nearly 90 per cent could be made in 
cutting the softer qualities of metal; and 
b that by using a heavy stream of water on the nose of a Mushet 
or other self-hardening tool, a gain of about 30 per cent could be 
made in the cutting speed over the speeds possible when the same 
tools are run without water. 
These experiments, then, indicated clearly that the use of Mushet 
steel almost exclusively for cutting exceedingly hard pieces of metal 
was the wrong one; since an enormously greater percentage of soft 
metal was cut in the average machine shop than of hard metal, and 
the gain in cutting soft metals was 90 per cent as against only a 45 
per cent gain for hard. It thus became evident that instead of using 
self -hardening tools only occasionally for cutting extra hard pieces 
of metal, they should be used daily throughout the shop on all ordi- 
nary work in place of carbon steel tools.^ 

1 On the Art of Cutting Metals, p. 86. 
^ Ibid.) p. 22 1. 


It shows Taylor's loyalty to his employers that he pre- 
pared two reports to the Cramp Company on the outcome of 
his experiments, one report " to be shown promiscuously," 
and the other for the exclusive consideration of Edwin S. 
Cramp, the superintending engineer j the difference between 
them arising from the fact that in the " promiscuous " report 
Taylor disguised his discovery about self-hardening steel. " I 
regard it as of the highest importance for your concern," he 
wrote to Mr. Cramp, " that the exact considerations which 
govern your speeding up in the shop should only be known 
to yourself and as few of the members of your firm as prac- 
ticable. Since if your employees, generally, know that the 
use of self-hardening steel plays such an important part in 
the increased output of your shop, it will not be long before 
this information will go to your competitors." Naturally he 
had to act on the principle that those whose sacrifice of time 
and money brings discoveries and inventions about should have 
all the benefit from being first in the field with them. 

Evidently, however, his discovery about self-hardening 
steel did not long remain a secret j within five years, so we are 
told, from one-fourth to one-fifth of the roughing tools used 
in good machine shops had come to be made from this steel. 
Probably the Cramp people did not think enough of the dis- 
covery to take any pains to retain its exclusive benefit. 

In connection with his discovery that a big gain in cutting 
speed can be made when a heavy stream of water is used on 
the nose of a self-hardening tool, it is interesting to note that, 
up to this time, makers of self-hardening steel had been in 
the habit of specifically warning users never to use water on 
these tools. Here, then, is an example of the results Taylor 
got by questioning the " most universally-accepted facts," as 
well as an example of how he found again and again that 
manufacturers had little or no idea of what could and should 
be done with their own machines or materials. And here, as 


related by him, is another and even more striking example 
of this latter fact: 

For many years it has been usual for salesmen of tool steels to give 
detailed accounts of the number of hours which tools made from their 
steels would cut metals without the necessity of regrinding. In fact, 
tool steel literature abounds in statements of the long life of tools 
with one grinding, implying that this is the proper standard for meas- 
uring their value. . . . For ninety-nine one-hundredths of the work 
of a shop, this criterion is of no value whatever, and the man 
who boasts of having run a tool without regrinding, say, for a longer 
period than one and one-half hours on ordinary shop work, is merely 
boasting of how little he knows about the art of cutting metals 
cheaply. . . . 

Briefly restated, the reason for this is that in order to have it last 
a long time, any given tool must be run at so slow a cutting speed as 
to waste the time of both the machinist and the machine. The small 
saving in grinder's wages, in the wages of the smith and in tool steel, 
which is made by having a tool last a very long time, is much more 
than overbalanced by the diminished output of the machine which 
corresponds with the slow cutting speed. So little, however, is the 
effect of the duration of the cut upon the cutting speed generally 
understood that probably not one machinist in a thousand realizes that 
there exist clearly defined laws as to the effect of the duration of the 
cut on the cutting speed. It is also safe to say that for the purpose of 
avoiding frequent grinding it is the almost universal practice in machine 
shops to run tools at cutting speeds which are entirely too slow for 
maximum economy, when all the elements bearing upon this subject 
are properly considered.^ 

Incidentally, this affords an example of the economic prin- 
ciples that Taylor had so much difficulty in getting his em- 
ployers to comprehend. At Cramp's, apparently, all they 
could see in it was that he wanted to run up their bills for 
tool steel and add grinders and smiths to the pay roll. 

Now comes something very interesting. After he had dis- 

^ Ibid., beginning on p, 73 and continued on p. 189. 


covered the value of self-hardening steel for all kinds of 
roughing work, he was confronted by the fact that there were 
on the market various makes of self-hardening steel, each 
differing more or less in its chemical composition. Which 
make was, on the whole, the best? Which should be adopted 
for the shop standard? 

With the consent of the Cramp people, Taylor took this 
question to his former chief, William Sellers, who, it will be 
remembered, had long ceased to have any part in the man- 
agement of Midvale, and Sellers agreed to bear part of the 
expense of the experimenting needed to settle it. Thus at 
the joint expense of the Cramp Company and William Sellers 
& Company, these experiments were conducted by Taylor 
early in 1895 at the Sellers shop. 

As a result of this work [said Taylor] the choice was narrowed 
down at that time to two makes of tool steels: (i) the celebrated 
Mushet self-hardening steel, . . . and (2) a self-hardening steel 
made by the Midvale Steel Company. ... Of these two steels, the 
tools made from the Midvale steel were shown to be capable of run- 
ning at rather higher cutting speeds. The writer himself heated 
hundreds of tools of these makes in the course of his experiments 
in order to accurately determine the best temperatures for forging 
and heating them prior to grinding so as to get the best cutting speeds. 
In these experiments he found that the Mushet steel if overheated 
crumbled badly when struck even a light blow on the anvil, while the 
Midvale steel if overheated showed no tendency to crumble, but, on 
the other hand, was apparently permanently injured. In fact, heat- 
ing these tools slightly beyond a bright cherry red caused them to 
permanently fall down in their cutting speeds; and the writer was un- 
able at that time to find any subsequent heat treatment which would 
restore a tool broken down in this way to its original good condition. 
This defect in the Midvale tools left us in doubt as to whether the 
Mushet or the Midvale was, on the whole, the better to adopt as a 
shop standard.^ 

^ Ibid., p. 50. 


On the verge he then was of the sensational discovery that 
led to high-speed steel j namely, the discovery of the wonder- 
ful property of " red hardness " that is imparted to self-hard- 
ening steel through a paradoxical kind of heat treatment. 
For the time being, however, he could not go on with these 
experiments. And this was because of the attitude of the 
Cramp people. 

Wherever scientific methods are introduced, he wrote in 
5ho'p Management^ those who direct the company " should be 
prepared to lose some of their valuable men who cannot stand 
the change, and also for the continued indignant protest of 
many of their old and trusted employees who can see nothing 
but extravagance in the new ways, and ruin ahead." No 
amount of opposition could break down his own purpose j but 
when spring came and he made his report on all he had done 
and what further should be done, the owners of the business 
decided they had had enough. His view of it was that as those 
owners were financiers they had no real interest in the de- 
velopment of the shop. The owners' view evidently was the 
reflection of the view taken by the operating chiefs. It is 
certain that when, many years later, the controversy arose over 
the introduction of Taylor methods into the navy yards, 
Cramp's shipyards were the source of reports that these 
methods would bankrupt the government. And it became a 
common thing for Taylor's opponents to charge that his sys- 
tem, after being tried at Cramp's, had been thrown out. 

What there was in this latter statement will appear when 
we examine the report, dated March 12, 1895, which Taylor 
made to Edwin S. Cramp. Incidental to recommending the 
changes which should be made in the speed of the machines, 
he stated that the following " alterations in the various de- 
tails " of the shops had been made by him: 


1st. Special furnaces and a steam hammer have been introduced 
in your smith shop for dressing and tempering machine shop tools; 
and all of your tool dressing has been concentrated in one part of 
your works, thus enabling it to be done much more systematically 
and better, as well as cheaper. 

2nd. Special grinding machinery has been introduced for grinding 
automatically, in large quantities, all chippers' and drillers' tools, as 
well as all machine shop tools. 

3rd. Tool rooms have been planned and partly completed, from 
which tools already ground to exactly their proper shapes, can be 
issued to all of the machinists throughout your machine shops, in lots 
of sufficient quantities, so that a machinist who has gone to work on 
a job which will last him several hours will be able to proceed con- 
tinuously with the running of his machine, without having to grind a 
single tool himself, and without the necessity of returning to the tool 
room for a new set of tools until after his job is finished. 

4th. The writer is about to proceed to make a model of each shape 
of standard tools, a supply of which should be kept on hand for all 
the machines throughout the place. After these models have been 
made, and carefully considered with a view to cheap dressing and 
grinding, and, at the same time, so shaping them as to be able to run 
the machines at the highest practicable cutting speeds, these tools 
should be made in large quantities and then issued, as above stated, 
in batches from the tool rooms to the men. 

5th. The writer has just completed a series of experiments to 
determine the best makes of tool steel to use, and he believes it to be 
economical to adopt the very best tool steel that can be had for each 
class of work which is done in the shop, the first cost of the steel 
being of comparatively small importance, providing the steel obtained, 
in all cases, shall be the best of its kind, and uniform and reliable. 

6th. The details of a system for ordering, installing and then 
properly caring for all belts throughout your establishment, at regular 
intervals, has been written out by the writer. If this system is adopted 
and properly carried out, every machine in your place should be in 
condition at all times to drive up to its maximum capacity, and none 
of your machines should practically ever be stopped during working 
hours for tightening your belts, and your belting would last three 


or four times as long as it does at present and cost much less for its 

It is clear from this that while in his short time at Cramp's 
he laid the foundations for many valuable economies, he, so 
far as the introduction of his system was concerned, hardly 
got started. Altogether he was at Cramp's six months. What 
happens when the Taylor System really is introduced any- 
where may be gathered from this extract from the testimony 
given in 1 9 1 1 before the Special House Committee by Henry 
R. Towne: 

It took us, in the two departments where we have installed it [the 
Taylor system], nearly three years to get it effectively into operation, 
and cost us about $25,000 in cash outlay before we began to get any- 
thing back, but we have recouped that many times over by the result- 
ing benefits. ... If I had followed the judgment and shared the 
fears of my junior associates at the end of the first year of our work 
in the installation of the Taylor system, we would have abandoned 
it and thrown it out; but I fortunately had not only faith in the 
ultimate outcome, but I had experience behind it which led me to 
realize that at that stage we were in no position to judge of the final 

That at Cramp's no one even began to catch the spirit of 
Taylor's methods, and that in consequence no attempt ever 
was made to practice even those he was able to introduce — 
this clearly appears in a letter from an engineer who in June, 
1895, only a few months after Taylor left there, went to 
work in the Cramp shops as an apprentice to a journeyman 
machinist. Though we are not at liberty to print this en- 
gineer's name, we can vouch for his entire responsibility, and 
if we quote at length, it is because of the vivid picture he draws 
of the " system " that was the very negation of Taylor's: 

The management at Cramp's made a great fetish in those days of 
having everybody within the gates when the whistles blew. But once 


we were inside the gate there was almost no attention paid to individual 
achievement. There certainly was no organized method of con- 
trolling it. A system under which every journeyman working in the 
shop was assisted by two helpers irrespective of the character of the 
job — this was a generally recognized abuse of those days. It is a 
physical impossibility to keep awake under such circumstances, much 
less to be productive. 

Along in the latter part of October, 1895, we noticed a large 
number of new faces among the workmen. Our interest was espe- 
cially aroused when they began cleaning the windows of the black- 
smith shop. When a few days later these strangers disappeared as 
mysteriously as they came, it developed that through providing " jobs " 
just prior to Election Day for some of the first families of Fishtown, 
the Republican majority had been increased. Long live the tariff 
and protection to our infant industries! 

I was associated in the work of the shop with a mechanic having 
a specialty. Nobody ever came under the orders of a kinder or more 
sympathetic boss. But he knew the "system." He knew that if we 
ran out of the particular kind of work on which he was engaged 
and on which he was an expert, we both would be laid off. So if he 
could not see a month's work ahead providing a reasonable factor of 
safety, we did not slow up — we staffed. I can hear him now in 
stentorian but semi-humorous tones telling me to " take that pipe and 
go as far as you can in that direction (pointing out across the yard), 
and then come back." When this occurred on Monday morning, I 
knew that the estimate of work ahead had been decided against us 
and that this was a week in which we would do nothing. 

My boss, having a couple of beers with his lunch, would often get 
drowsy after this meal and lie down for a little snooze. The only 
place completely out of sight was the low-pressure cylinder of one of 
the battleship engines erected in this shop. When a snooze was sched- 
uled, my job was to surreptitiously gather enough burlap to make a 
reasonably soft bed for my industrial lord and master. As a rule 
I sat on the opposite side of the cylinder during these naps, keeping 
watch and out of sight at the same time. On waking up, my good 
friend would sometimes while away the rest of the afternoon with 
song and story. As he had been on the stage, this was no mean per- 


formance. The man who drove the travelling crane was likely to 
pass over us during the afternoon; so on Friday evening (pay day), 
on the way home, he was my boss's guest at one of the gilded drink 
parlors " up the Avenue." 

We had one big boss; i.e., the foreman of the shop. The lapse of 
twenty years has not effaced the memory of his thoughtful, tired and 
careworn face. Nobody loved him, but we had a certain respect for 
a man who could keep this big shop going as well as he did with no 
assistance of any kind. Of course the problem of the individual 
worker was to keep this man's favor and yet not allow him to dictate 
output. In assigning work and saying when it was wanted, he was 
careful not to be too specific. This had a double purpose: (i) to 
cover his own ignorance of the time it should take, and (2) to imply 
a certain confidence in the men. 

Our superintendent was looked upon altogether as a joke. He 
liked " lots doing " and was " hell on noise." In other words, he was 
of the opinion that a bustling, noisy shop is necessarily a profitable 
shop. So we apprentices had our orders to make a racket whenever 
he approached. I usually kept a piece of sheet iron handy for such 

I had not been two months in the shop before I began not only 
choosing my own tools from the miscellaneous stock in the tool room, 
but grinding them to my own uneducated fancy. The bolts, nuts, 
clamps, etc., used for setting up work in machine tools were kept in 
great disorder in boxes under the work benches. It not infrequently 
took hours to gather the necessary equipment for one single set-up. 
As I realize how all these details are carefully prescribed and con- 
trolled under the Taylor system, two queries present themselves: (i) 
how did we ever get anything done at Cramp's in 1895? and (2) 
how much of the new order has permeated this organization in the 
intervening years? 

It is highly probable that, encountering here one of the 
worst cases of traditionalism that the times afforded, Taylor 
conspicuously failed to refrain from attempting to push men 
along too fast on the road of science, and that he needlessly 
antagonized them by his habit of being too anticipative of 


opposition and therefore of assuming a manner too aggressive, 
imperious, and belligerent. At the same time there can be 
little doubt that even if he had set out to introduce scientific 
methods there with the perfection of caution, tact, and diplo- 
macy, a general disturbance among the officials would have 
been bound to come as they were called upon to give up their 
individual or rule-of-thumb methods. In those days it was 
inevitable that the owner of an establishment run in the old 
way should have to pay a price for scientific economy not 
only in money but in trouble. And in the case of the finan- 
cial gentlemen who in the 1890's controlled Cramp's, it is 
quite easy to understand why they should have balked at the 
price, seeing that they dealt mainly with a protecting govern- 
ment which willingly paid them prices that more than ab- 
sorbed the cost of any lack of economy. 

That Taylor did not escape from Cramp's with spirit un- 
wounded, is certain. But it should go without saying that it 
is not only on the battlefield that men have an opportunity to 
forget their wounds and carry on. 



IN the case of none of the firms by which he was employed 
as a consultant were the circumstances such as to make 
it possible for him to work out a complete development 
of his system. The methods and mechanisms which he later 
linked together were developed here and there as special oc- 
casion for them arose. 

His work for William Deering & Company (later called 
the Deering Harvester Company) was begun, if not finished, 
before he went to Cramp's, and consisted mainly of reor- 
ganizing the company's financial, credit, and sales-agency 
methods. The Northern Electrical Manufacturing Company, 
of Madison, Wisconsin, for which he did work in 1896, was 
a new concern whose product consisted mainly of motors and 
dynamos. If only because it made slow progress in those hard 
times, he could not there go very far in introducing his 

More extensive and certainly much more significant was 
the work he did, also in 1896, for the Lorain Steel Company 
and its allied concern, the Johnson Company. Later a sub- 
sidiary of the United States Steel Corporation, the Lorain 
Company then had for its general manager Coleman du Pont, 
of the Delaware du Pont family which later became widely 
known for the activities of its members as powder manufactur- 
ers. It was Coleman du Pont who, having read A Piece- 
Rate System, tmploycd Taylor. At first Taylor's activities 
were confined to reorganizing what was known as the Steel 
Motor Works, a plant in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, which 
was operated by the Johnson Company and built motors for 
electric cars for the Lorain Company. Later his methods 



were applied by him to the other branches of this general 
steel business, and Mr. du Pont writes us that all his work 
was " well worth while." 

It will be recalled that his first work for the Simonds Roll- 
ing Machine Company, which he began in the fall of 1893 and 
continued with until well into 1894, was largely confined to 
the accounting end. This was true also of his work for the 
Northern Electrical Company, the Johnson Company, and the 
Lorain Company j and the documents he preserved reveal that, 
dating from the summer of 1893, when he began to give the 
subject of accounting special study, he made steady progress 
in the development of a comprehensive method of analyzing 
and classifying expenses and of distributing the overhead on 
to the product, this directed to the general end of preparing 
monthly reports showing every cent that had been spent dur- 
ing the previous month and what was obtained for it.^ In- 
evitably this made necessary a system of symbols for desig- 
nating departments and their activities (overhead account), 
raw or purchased materials or stores, worked materials, and 
stock (product account), and plant, real estate, machinery, 
tools, and so on (asset or construction account). And in the 
case of a man like Taylor this, in turn, inevitably led to the 
development of mechanism for the control of activities, ma- 
terials, and so on. 

In his work for the Simonds plant appeared the first indi- 
cation of his mnemonic classification of accounts. Here also 
appeared the first indication of his " expense distribution 
sheet " (to get distribution of overhead expenses on to pro- 
duction of the month), and the first indication of his worked 

•■■ At the Simonds plant, Taylor's " Exhibit A " was his " Expense Analysis 
Sheet," and it was followed by sheets giving in detail the cost of the work 
finished during the month. " Exhibit B " was the " Income Accounts State- 
ment." In presenting his analyses, he always adopted the regressive method; 
that is, gave you the results at the top. If the statement of these results did 
not satisfy you, although they very well might, you then could proceed to the de- 
tails of how they were reached. 

•lor, F. V. 



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Lai. No. 1152.5 




, V if 

July 21 

About S«ptiiri;er 1. 18P4. we sh;,!! mke a contract tor mt 
^iv» ^S6 reams of (hwn Tint, Sized and Super-oftI«ndered Book P^er for 
our amael catal<^ti8. We shtll want the privJl«5» of increasirr, this 
order «s or befors BiceRber l$t ic no d mora thsn S700 reans . 

Tlie ecnditions of tl.lg cc-r.lrac:. will le as fell -.vs: 

WffT^gHT . %• »8ieht of the paper will be on ' ;.e "' -.--it cf 33 x .1 . 
90 ftfl. to 500 sheets. We desire ihu" all bi<!!s s.'jUI : -: r.ado on ■-hr- 
bet»lt of full count and fuj.1 weifht, without allcwar.ce for wrcppers, 
dTf^ts. cases, fnaws or strir^a; in other words, list, ■-■.i.e.. '00 sheet* 
mKi V8i£h 90 lbs. and no allowance will h*i jaade ic- v - ■. . ; test, 
for veofbtt to be M*tved at by we--:^hinr i.on jcr ceru. w l-..e la. C'-:-lo 
taken &t rwSum. 

Jjgyjn- *** q'-ialitv of tiw i^per tc l^e loiter in ever- . esjject j 
than the printed sas^le attached hei-^to. T/.o -.alit" of the jr.. cr to be : 
such 8S is suitable for prinlins half tcna "'-ts .■;-. e set.sfactorv manrer 
to us. H is iwiWttood tiat w:.9 p?.p»r sj.all be inif era in color, 
cleanliness and fiRlsh. 

£0L^. T5?e color ci the raje^ shnll be Creaa Tint. 

TIME OF "A;:iir' . it n dis'-.^c-l'- -!.:(io"s:-ccd '..hc.i ihe mill taking 
tho ord»r »ill b%iii makiar: '-"'■' rf^l er f,s soon as t::: •• .':- \---\ : -- 

that it 7ill run it contin',o; '.t. oi'P pater nacliine. .- 
Oiher orders, until the anciii,. called lor i.- finished. 

nBUygy . It is imderstood t-hat the paj-er is to 1.;- d-liv^ved. 
at Bue& places in the i'lty of Chio'vo as we shall srecif 

Tl;-'^ OF DSLIVKOY . Delivsries are to terin on or ;.„-.,. . 
1st, and are to be r^de a» rapidl;- and in sue.; quantities as we shall here- 
after direct. It is umteratood tJat we will *oaK8 all the par^r by Feb- 
ruary 1, 1896. 


A method of purchasing to which Taylor early was led by his principle of 
standardization. Chicago, 189+ 

, A manufacturinfj concern in this city 
amuses the trade very niiicii over the ex- 
treme cire exerj^sed in bnyinj^ an ordinary 
bill of paper. While the ordtr may be a 
little larfjer than the every day occurrence, 
it is not r.nich compared with some any of 
the paper houses in the city are handling 

now or a little earlier in the season. The 
amusing- part and the only thing to at- 
tract attention is, that the concern sends 
out 1 long list »f specifications in para- 
graphs and many of them and invites prices 
probably from all the paper houses found 
in the directories. The estimates are usually 
sent in in tbe usual way; then in a few days 
printed, postal cards are sent out by the 
concern, probably a great many, wh''ch say. 

"We thank you for quotations on, but 

are unable to make use of it." But com- 
ments are unnecessary. A^'ter all it is 
rather nice for the business man to be re- 
lieved occasionally by a little ripple of 


A trade paper's response to purchasing by specifi- 
cation in 1894 


materials cost sheet. And here too appeared the first speci- 
men of his famous balance of stores sheet, but without the 
" available " column, which was not added until the intro- 
duction of his methods at the Link-Belt plant. For the con- 
trol of stores and worked materials and the prevention of 
their waste, he worked out at the Simonds plant his first 
purchase requisition, with column for stores-tag number (here 
was the first indication of the up-to-date stores tag), and here 
also appeared his first stores issue slips, worked materials 
delivered slips, and worked materials issue slips. 

Such things as the immediately foregoing are mentioned 
mainly to indicate something of the thoroughness or attention 
to detail that Taylor put into everything he essayed. Because 
of its broadly social import, everyone should be interested in 
that feature of his accounting work for the Simonds Company 
which had to do with the introduction of a record of " machine 
dollar hours." Back of this record lay a method of determin- 
ing the hourly cost or " wages " of each machine (the method 
is too complicated for exposition here), and the general object 
was to show what each machine earned or the extent to which 
it was utilized. The general idea of this Taylor got from 
the Sellers Company, and he applied it, with important modi- 
fications of his own, to the machine shop, smith shop, and 
rolling machines at the Simonds plant. Such a record plainly 
directs attention to the cost of maintaining idle machinery. 
Later on, when Henry L. Gantt, at Taylor's instigation, came 
to be employed by the Simonds Company, he was deeply 
impressed by this, and it was destined to bear fruit many years 
later in the vigorous attacks Gantt made against the practice 
of including the expense of idle plant in production costs.^ 

^ As he defined it in a paper presented at the A.S.M.E in December, 191 6, 
Gantt's principle was that " the cost of an article should include only those 
expenses actually needed for its production, and any other expenses incurred by 
the producers for any reason whatever must be charged to some other account " 
and " deducted from the profits." 


Though Taylor in this period placed a higher relative 
importance upon accounting than he did later, it is obvious, 
from the mechanism he devised for the Simonds Company, 
that his attitude towards it was from the beginning that of 
the engineer rather than that of the professional accountant 
of these latter days. That is to say, he was not so much in- 
terested in showing what had- been done as in what was being 
done and especially in what should be done. From the be- 
ginning he moved in the direction of making the accounting 
a part of the control, and further evidence of this is afforded 
by the time card he devised for the Simonds Company. Here, 
evidently, was the first appearance of this card which, serving 
the ends both of control and of production and cost records, 
is now such a conspicuous feature of the mechanism of Taylor- 
ism. It is true that the Simonds card was a very crude one, 
but the rudiments of the modern article were there. ^ 

It was at the Steel Motor Works, in 1896, that Taylor 
devised the first example of a complete classification of ac- 
counts, with mnemonic symbols arranged in the manner still 
adhered toj namely, that of devoting the first letters of the 
alphabet to the overhead expense account, the middle letters 
to the product account, and the last letters to the asset or con- 
struction account. 

The chief significance of his work at this latter plant lies 
in the fact that here, for the first time when he had an oppor- 
tunity to do something resembling thorough work as a man- 
agement engineer, he was confronted by a complex product, 
or one made up of a number of differing parts. That he 
promptly arose to the situation is shown by his papers and 
documents. Here he made his first attempt at stores classi- 
fication with mnemonic symbols j here was the first example 
of the group issuing of stores and worked materials for as- 

^ It had two checking squares, one headed " Time Sheet " and the other 
"Cost Sheet." 


sembling purposes j and here he devised his first "route" or 
assembling chart, or one designed to show how all the parts 
were brought together to build the motor up. 

The general situation he encountered at the Steel Motor 
Works is indicated in a letter he wrote in Johnstown in 
October, 1896, to the manager of the Northern Electrical 
Company, whose product was similar to that of the Steel 
Motor Works. 

I hope [he said] that you are beginning now to climb out of your 
various troubles. I do not of course anticipate that your works are at 
all busy, for my impression is that the wjiole country is now at a 
standstill, but I hope that when the times brisk up after election you 
will be in a position to spread out in your business. 

The Johnson Company here is almost prostrated for lack of work, 
but fortunately for me the good effects of the system of cheapening 
costs became evident before this absolute stagnation of business came 
on, so that I have been kept here even when nothing is doing to im- 
prove methods still further. We have met with very great success in 
reducing the cost of manufacture. When I came to the motor works 
the whole of their shop work was practically done on the contract 
system. They had some twenty or thirty contractors who agreed to 
make the various parts of their motors for a fixed price. I immedi- 
ately started to turn the work from the contract to the detailed piece 
work system under which a separate price is given for each small 
operation and this system has already reduced costs enormously. In 
the classes of work to which it has been applied the cost has been 
fully cut in half. We have saved enough in the wages of armature 
winding alone to pay for all the cost of introducing the system and 
running it. 

In closing his letter, Taylor said: " I hope that you will 
for some time to come, at any rate, confine your business to as 
few types of motors as possible. I feel sure you will make 
more money this way than by spreading out into a great 
variety of work." Very early in his career he preached the 


advantages of specializing in a few standardized products, 
and in his later years he often pointed to the success of Henry 
Ford's car as an example of this. 

A letter he addressed in October, 1896, to T. C. du Pont, 
the general manager of the Johnson Company, gives an in- 
teresting view of what he aimed at in the management of 
clerical work. 

I beg leave [he wrote] to suggest the following rules for regulating 
the work of the clerks in the Auditing Department: 

1. That the hours of work shall be from eight o'clock a.m. until 
five o'clock p.m. 

2. No talking above a whisper during working hours. 

3. A special room or section for calling off figures from one book 
to another, and never more than two men to be in this room at the 
same time. 

4. No smoking during working hours. 

5. The duties of each man who works on the routine part of the 
bookkeeping to be clearly defined and as far as is possible the work 
which belongs to one day to be entirely separated from that which be- 
longs to the day following. 

6. Each clerk shall be allowed to go home any time during the day 
when his work is done. 

7. Each man must finish his work properly belonging to that day, 
even if he has to stay all night to do it. 

8. Each man must register in a special book for the purpose the 
exact hour and minute of his arrival and departure, morning, noon 
and night. (A Bundy time clock might be used instead of a book for 

My reason for suggesting the above rules is that I think the aver- 
age clerk cannot work hard and faithfully for a longer time than 
from 8 o'clock until 4:30 or 5 o'clock, and I believe that much more 
work can be accomplished by having men work at their best while they 
are in the office and then giving them all extra time for recreation 
rather than have them intersperse their recreation with their work, 
as they are now doing. 


No one subscribed more heartily than Tdylor to the princi- 
ple that everything possible should be done to make work 
interesting. And it is to be observed that in setting definite - 
tasks for workers, as he would have done in the case of those 
clerks also, he did make work more interesting by breaking 
up the monotony of routine work and repeat operations/ 
But he made a real distinction between interest and amuse- 
ment, and in his philosophy life in general was such a stern 
business that he could not believe that anyone, not even a 
workman, could be made fit for it by leading him to think 
that it was for him to deal only with such things as might 
pleasantly engage and occupy his attention. His idea, as 
shown in the rules he proposed for the Johnson Company's 
clerks, was to keep work and amusement separate, and by 
working when you worked have more time to play when you 
played. Undoubtedly his suggestion that those clerks be per- 
mitted to go home when they had finished the daily tasks he 
proposed for them was found nothing less than sensational. 
For himself, however, he never could see that anyone was 
paid just to " stick around," and it was shocking to his 
economic, not to say moral, sense that people should be re- 
quired to go through motions just to fill in time or for any 
purpose other than that of bringing about a useful result. 
And on this general subject there will be more a little later. 

Now, it was in November of 1896 that the leading men of 
the Simonds Company, having became dissatisfied with the 
general manager of their works in Fitchburg, asked Taylor 
to confer with them as to what should be done, and it will be 
recalled that, as a condition to giving them the benefit of his 
knowledge and experience, he demanded that he be placed 

^ There, for example, is all the difference in the world between telling 
a man to spend a day bringing water from a river and telling him to bring 
up a certain number of bucketsful. In the latter case, his mind has got some- 
thing definite to work on, and this is especially true when he knows he can quit 
as soon as he finishes his stint. 


in sole control of the shop until April, 1898. We have seen 
also that he had acquired some stock in this company in re- 
turn for patent rights. Thus back of his demand that the 
control of the shop be surrendered to him was the fact that, 
nothing daunted by his previous experiences, he saw here an- 
other promising opportunity, not only to demonstrate the 
value of his methods, but also to build up his own personal 
fortunes. Manufacturing balls for bicycle bearings, the 
Simonds Company did seem to have a fine future, especially 
with the quietus given to the free-silver agitation early that 
month by Bryan's defeat for the Presidency. The craze that 
set in when bicycles of the " safety " type replaced the old 
high-wheel type was in these years attaining its climax. There 
was scarcely a city that did not have its bicycle club, and many 
of the larger cities had gone to great expense in laying out 
special bicycle paths in connection with their park and parkway 
systems. It looked as if every man, women, and child was 
taking to the wheel, and apparently it did not occur to any- 
one that this sort of thing was not to continue more or less 

When, early in December, the directors of the Simonds 
Company formally resolved to give Taylor the control of the 
shop he asked, he and his wife rented an apartment for the 
winter in Boston, from which city he made daily trips to 
Fitchburg. In the Boston vicinity he had numerous kins- 
people on his mother's side, and it was his pleasure to see 
them frequently. He was as genial a visitor as he was a host. 
And he was a boon companion on a tripj the ridiculous side 
never escaped him, and few were the things in which he 
could not find something humorous. All this time, in fact, 
we must picture him as leading a unique kind of "double 
life." His working hours were full of toil and trouble. His 
domestic and social hours were happy and blithesome and gay. 
If in the workaday world he dramatized himself as a terror, 


he in his social world dramatized himself as one of the gentlest 
and most Chesterfieldian of beings. 

On July 4, 1896, while living in Johnstown, he played 
golf for the first time, and now at the beginning of the sum- 
mer of 1897, when he and his wife went to live in Fitchburg, 
he took to playing this game after 4 o'clock in the afternoon 
as a regular thing, despite the criticism it drew upon him. 

The fact is that he had adopted for himself a new working 
policy, and to this he continued invariably to stick, no matter 
who liked it or who didn't. He was through with working 
overtime, feeling that he had done his full share of it. He 
had come to see that he best could serve by refraining entirely 
from doing things himself, and concentrating on the vision- 
ing, the thinking out, the planning, the general direction. 
And as he did this, he naturally had to reduce his working 
hours. Thinking, in the degree that it is done in the abstract, 
is the most exhausting form of labor, but this is more than 
made up for by the fact that five minutes thinking may add 
more wealth to the world than could be produced in years 
of manual labor. Barth tells us that when he went to work 
at Bethlehem, he made the mistake of asking Taylor what his 
hours were to be. It was a mistake, seeing that it permitted 
Taylor to retort: " I don't care whether you work or not, 
as long as you produce results." He always was amused by 
those managers who put such stress on the time a man works j 
who appear to think, as they did at Cramp's, that the art of 
management mainly consists in getting all the men within the 
gates at a certain hour and seeing that none leave until a 
certain hour. 

It is clear now that the new working policy he adopted and 
the golf playing he took to in Fitchburg were practically en- 
forced upon him. It undoubtedly was as true of him in these 
years as it was in his later that his mind, as his physician ex- 
pressed it, was so preoccupied with other things that his body 


found it difficult to register such sensations as those of fatigue. 
But at Fitchburg symptoms of a weakened nervous system, I 
mainly in the form of dyspepsia and insomnia, began to mani- 
fest themselves to him too insistently for him to disregard 
entirely. Writing in 1913 to his friend, Scudder Klyce, then 
a naval constructor, he said: 

Let me repeat that the one thing in your letter which gives me the 
very greatest pleasure is the fact that you are improving in health. 
I wish that you would take the warning and advice of a man who has 
suffered greatly from his early blunders, and deliberately take a whole 
lot of time for some form of very simple mental relaxation. I am 
now suffering, and have been for several years, because when I was 
younger I thought I was made of iron and used up my nervous energy 
and strength too fast. But I hope that I am now in a fair way to 
attain the proper balance between mental work and some form of 
out-of-door physical exercise and relaxatiojj, so that I shall not grow 
any worse. 

For me, however, I find it many times exceedingly irksome to give 
up the intellectual work in which I am at the time very greatly in- 
terested, and go out onto a dreary golf links to spend two or three 
hours chasing after a golf ball. For me this medicine is frequently 
as bad as to go to the dentist; and yet when I once get out on the 
links and begin my exercise in the open air, somehow I lose my disgust 
and begin to cheer up and profit by the complete physical and mental 
change. Personally, I feel as if I need a guardian a good deal of the 
time, to lay out my day's work for me and keep me from doing too 
much of the nerve-racking kind. 

It would seem that the best of us are in need of some 
kind of external control, but it was extremely difficult to 
realize this in the case of Frederick Taylor. It was not merely 
that he habitually kept all his troubles to himself. He was 
such a self-reliant man that it seemed all but incredible that 
he ever should be in need of help. So accustomed did you 
become to seeing him doing things for others that you 


naturally fell into the habit of thinking there was scarcely any- 
thing that anyone could do for him. 

Though he suffered from dyspepsia at Fitchburg, it did 
not lessen the enthusiasm with which he took up the work 
of reorganizing the Simonds shop. And it shows what con- 
fidence he had in his own methods that no sooner was he 
placed in control of the shop than he set about promoting 
the company's finances, taking additional stock himself and 
getting several of his friends and relatives to subscribe. 
Again he was doomed to disappointment as regards the 
financial end, but again as regards the operating end he, coping 
with conditions new to his experience, had brilliant success. 



IN December, 1896, Alfred Bowditch, president of the 
Simonds Company, wrote the general manager of the 
works to inform him that he was relieved from respon- 
sibility for the shop, " Mr. Fred W. Taylor " having been 
granted " entire and absolute authority over the same." Need- 
less to say, this news was not received by the general manager 
with enthusiasm. Apparently he at once set about trying to 
balk the man who had displaced him in the control of the 
shop J and it was due to his machinations that, in the fall of 
1897, Walter A. Simonds, principal owner of the business, 
wrote to Taylor's former employers. Here, as contained in 
a letter to Mr. Harrah of Midvale, is Taylor's explanation 
of the trouble: 

On the 28th of June [1897] ^^ [^^^ general manager] resigned 
on three days' notice, and with him every foreman and assistant fore- 
man in the place, as well as the superintendent, all of the salesmen, 
and the head man in the office. This was the first that the directors or 
anyone connected with the company knew of their intentions. They 
did this, of course, hoping to put the Simonds Co. into such a hole 

that they would be obliged to shut down or else, as hoped, 

discharge me and go back to the old system of management. There 

was, however, only one of the nine directors beside himself 

who considered any such course as this for five minutes, and 

was the most disappointed man in Fitchburg when we found the ex- 
act sentiment of the directors. 

His new concern is a grand failure, and at the stockholders' meet- 
ing of the Simonds Co. which occurred about three weeks ago he 
appeared and wanted to patch up the breach and come back again, but 



the same Board of Directors was chosen, and my management was 
entirely endorsed by them. 

Owing to the severe competition in the bicycle ball business, how- 
ever, the price of balls has fallen to one-half what it was last season, 
and this of course stops the payment of dividends. Young Mr. Si- 

monds naturally wants dividends, and has told him, as he 

has everyone else connected with the company, that if he were only 
managing the company now they would be paying just as large div- 
idends as ever. 

He has also spread no end of lies broadcast about me, saying that 
I never have made a success of anything, that I had always been fired 
wherever I have been, that I had no friends, and was a very general 
kind of a damned fool. 

Prior to December, 1896, when Taylor took hold, the 
works had been shut down for many weeks to permit of the 
resetting of the machinery in the new building that just had 
been erected. Thus it was feared that the company would 
not have enough balls to meet the requirements of its customers 
during the season of 1897, and Taylor was urged to rush 

With this as his prime object, he first turned his attention 
to those departments which, being the slowest, had been limit- 
ing the output. The slowest of all was the department where 
the balls were rough ground, and the next slowest was that 
where the finish grinding was done.. The men in these, as 
well as the men and girls in all the other departments, had 
all along been employed on a day-work basis. By March, 
1897, Taylor had put the two slowest departments on piece 
work. The result was that, with the same number of men 
working the same hours with the same machinery, the pro- 
duction was increased from an average of 5,000,000 balls a 
month to 17,000,000. And at the same time a better quality 
of ball was insured through a much more rigid system of 


Probably it was the general manager's envy of this success 
that precipitated his action in Junej but while his resignation, 
along with that of practically all the other head men in shop 
and office, was embarrassing, it ultimately was of advantage 
to Taylor, in that it gave him a clear field for the introduc- 
tion of his methods. In fact, it enabled him to get installed 
in the office of general manager a man who, besides being 
specially qualified for such a position, was above all others 
at the time best able to understand his methods j this being 
his old Midvale associate, Henry L. Gantt. 

Now, when Taylor had time to analyze all of the twenty 
or more operations incidental to the manufacture of those 
small steel balls, he concluded that the most important prob- 
ably was that of inspecting them after their final polishing. 
Engaged in this work were about 120 girls, all of whom were 
" old hands " and supposed to be skilled. They worked ten 
and a half hours a day, with a Saturday half holiday, or fifty- 
eight hours a week, the full limit permitted by law. 

Their work [said Taylor] consisted briefly in placing a row of 
small polished balls on the back of the left hand, in the crease between 
two of the fingers pressed together, and while they were rolled over 
and over, they were minutely examined in a strong light, and with the 
aid of a magnet held in the right hand, the defective balls were picked 
out and thrown into especial boxes. Four kinds of defects were looked 
for — dented, soft, scratched, and fire-cracked — and they were 
mostly so minute as to be invisible to an eye not especially trained to 
this work. It required the closest attention and concentration, so 
that the nervous tension of the inspectors was considerable, in spite of 
the fact that they were comfortably seated and were not physically 

As he said in a report made to the company, the problem 
of systemizing this inspection work proved for some time a 

^ Principles of Scienttfic Management, p. 87. 


" stumbling block." Approaching it very cautiously, he 
eventually employed Sanford E. Thompson to help him with 
it, and again we read: 

A most casual study made it evident that a very considerable part 
of the ten and one-half hours during which the girls were supposed to 
work was really spent in idleness because the working period was too 

It is a matter of ordinary common sense to plan working hours so 
that the workers can really " work while they work " and " play while 
they play," and not mix the two. 

Before the arrival of Mr. Sanford E. Thompson, who undertook 
a scientific study of the whole process, we decided, therefore, to 
shorten the working hours. 

The old foreman who had been over the inspecting room for years 
was instructed to interview one after another of the better inspectors 
and more influential girls and persuade them that they could do just 
as much work in ten hours each day as they had been doing in ten 
and one-half hours. Each girl was told that the proposition was 
to shorten the day's work to ten hours and pay the same day's pay 
they were receiving for the ten and one-half hours. 

In about two weeks the foreman reported that all of the girls he 
had talked to agreed that they could do their present work just as 
well in ten hours as in ten and one-half and that they approved of the 

The writer had not been especially noted for his tact, so he decided 
that it would be wise for him to display a little more of this quality 
by ha\ing the girls vote on the proposition. This decision was hardly 
justified, however, for when the vote was taken the girls were unani- 
mous that ten and one-half hours was good enough for them and 
they wanted no innovation of any kind.^ 

Of course those girls did not object to the proposition of 
reduced hours in itself j they feared that this innovation would 
be but the prelude to others, and were of the opinion that 
they would better stick to the evils they knew of than open 

1 Ibid., p. 87. 


the door to the unfamiliar. Their vote, so we read, settled 
the matter for the time being, but " a few months later tact 
was thrown to the winds and the working hours were arbitrar- 
ily shortened in successive steps to lO hours, 9^, 9, and 8^ 
(the pay per day remaining the same) j and with each short- 
ening of the working day the output increased instead of 
diminished." ^ 

That Taylor did not mean that the increase of output was 
entirely in consequence of the shortening of the hours, will 
be seen from the reply he made to Miss Josephine Goldmark, 
of the National Consumers' League, when in 191 2 she wrote 
to tell him that she was " in search of data showing the effects 
of diminishing the hours of labor in industrial establishments 
upon output and the efficiency of the workers." 

I am very sure [said Taylor] that in many trades, particularly those 
which require very close attention, there would be an increase in the 
output down to say 8, or even perhaps 7-^ hours per day, provided no 
other element than this came in. 

Unfortunately for your immediate case, however, in all the cases 
with which we have had to deal with shortening the hours, there are 
many other elements mixed in, so that while there has invariably been 
an increase in output with the shorter hours, it is very difficult to prove 
to what extent it is due to shorter hours and to what extent other 
causes are accompanying the shorter hours. 

I would refer you to my book, " The Principles of Scientific Man- 
agement," page 86, etc. [The part dealing with the work of the 
Simonds girls.] In this case, however, a large part of the improve- 
ment was due to the scientific selection of the girls, rather than to the 
shortening of the hours. There is, however, no question whatever 
that in this case merely shortening the hours also produced an increase 
in output. 

Besides being scientifically selected, these girls were put on 
piece work, and other changes were made such as giving them 

1 Ibid., p. 88. 


a morning and an afternoon recess. The part played in the 
increased output by the shortened hours, as distinguished from 
the part played by these other things, is undoubtedly indi- 
cated as closely as it can be by Sanford E. Thompson, who 
handled the detail pertaining to the systemizing of these 
girls' work. 

It was on the first of August [writes Thompson] that the hours 
were reduced from lo^ to 9^. At the same time a recess of five 
minutes was allowed in the middle of the forenoon and again in the 
afternoon, while the Saturday half holiday was continued. During 
August the giris turned out 33% more work than during July; that 
is, they did one-third more in 9-^ hours than they had done in lO^. 
Piece work was in operation during both months, but it is probably not 
fair to claim that the entire amount of increase was due to the reduc- 
tion in hours. Although the girls had been working for years on this 
class of work, the fact that they were obtaining credit in real hard 
cash for extra efforts put forth, made them more expert. Part of the 
increase in product is probably therefore due to the extra ability of the 

At the end of August, things were working very smoothly, and the 
next change in the quantity of balls handled may be said to be due 
almost entirely to the reduction in hours. The first of September the 
working day was shortened to 8^ hours, the morning and afternoon 
recesses were increased to ten minutes, and the Saturday half holiday 
was maintained. During the month of September the amount of labor 
as shown by the finished product was almost exactly the same for each 
girl as during the month of August, although they worked one hour 
per day less. To express it in exact figures, the girls in 8^ hours did 
one-twelth of one per cent more work per day than they had done 
previously in 9^ hours. 

Although the girls worked much faster after the introduction of 
piece work and the shortening of the hours, they also did more thor- 
ough work. This was shown by very careful experiments made upon 
balls inspected and boxed under the two different systems. The 
means used to maintain the quality were very careful over-inspection 
and the method of basing the rate of pay upon the quality of the work. 


Under the shorter hours, although they did more work, the girls 
appeared less tired. They worked steadily, instead of stopping fre- 
quently to rest or to speak to their neighbors. 

In closing, Thompson says: 

The question of course arises whether a still further reduction in 
the hours could have been made with the result of still maintaining 
the same volume of product per day. The fact that there was prac- 
tically no increase in the volume of work after the change from 9^ 
hours to 8-^ hours, coupled with the fact that under the latter con- 
ditions the girls were working very steadily, would tend to show that 
in this particular class of work the point of maximum production had 
been reached. 

I do not pretend to say that the results described prove that 8^ 
hours is the exact length of day which should be adopted in all classes 
of labor. It is not too much to claim, however, that in a vast number 
of cases, especially in industrial establishments, the length of day 
might be shortened to the advantage of both the workman and the 
capitalist, provided that some incentive be given to the worker, such 
as the assurance, if he is a piece worker, that his rate per piece will not 
be cut if he exerts himself.^ Even where machinery is employed, the 
product of the machine generally depends upon the ability, or more 
often upon the swiftness of the operator. Almost always there is a 
large amount of wasted time between operations which can be used to 
advantage. Often the machine itself may be improved so as to run 
with no breakdowns or stoppages. 

The length of day should undoubtedly vary with the character of 
the work. Where the labor is severe or confining, maximum results 
may obviously be reached in fewer hours than where the work is light. 
It should be remembered that there is a limit for any particular class 
of work beyond which the worker will not be benefited. The hours 
should be short enough so that a man at the end of a day's work will 
not be exhausted, while on the other hand they should be of such 
length that he will be able to produce a volume of product, or 
" wealth," which will give him satisfactory returns for his efi^orts. 

■"• Mr. Thompson rightly regards this latter point as exceedingly important. 


These conclusions of Thompson's, though reached by him 
independently, undoubtedly reflect the views o£ Taylor, who 
in his letter to Miss Goldmark went on to say: 

I am a very firm behever in shorter hours, especially for women. 
There is one supreme fact, however, which always ought to be borne 
in mind by all philanthropists and managers, when they are advocating 
shorter hours, and better working conditions, etc., namely, that if they 
do not at the same time make provision for an increase in the ouptut 
of the individual per hour of work done, they in the long run are 
merely preparing their people for lower wages and harder conditions. 
This element of seeing that the productivity is increased in greater 
proportion than the hours are reduced, is time and again overlooked, 
whereas a careful study of the whole problem would make it possible 
in 99 cases out of 1 00 to very materially increase the output, at the 
same time 'that the hours are shortened. 

We gather that Taylor's prescription for shorter hours was 
in general this: Concentrate. See that work and amusement 
are kept separate and distinct. Save labor with more ma- 
chinery. Plan the work. Think it all out in advance. In- 
tellectualize it in general. Certainly hours cannot be short- 
ened without reducing income unless labor is saved. And 
the only saver of labor is intellect. Either the intellect that 
is projected into a machine, or the intellect that is used for the 
better handling of machines, the better care and issuing of 
tools, the better storage and issuing of materials, the better 
ordering of work, and so on and so forth. 

The girl inspectors at the Simonds plant were scientifically 
selected on the basis of their possessing a low personal co- 
efficient — that is, power of quick perception accompanied by 
quick responsive action. " Unfortunately," said Taylor, " this 
involved laying off many of the most intelligent, hardest 
working, and most trustworthy girls." Usually when investi- 
gation shows that a person is not adapted to the work he or 
she is doing, other work can be found for him or her in the 


same establishment as we presently shall see exemplified in 
the case of Taylor's systemizing work at Bethlehem. At the 
Simonds plant, however, there was no work save the inspection 
at which it was possible to employ women. 

It was at this plant that Taylor had his first experience with 
women in industry. Just as he found that women in general 
are entitled to special consideration, so he found that in indus- 
try they require to be treated in a special way.^ He was not 
enthusiastic over their being in industry. Not young women, 
anyway. Writing in 19 14 to a member of the Yale Debating 
Association, he said: 

My extensive observations have made me come to the conclusion 
that younger women are not as regular in their attendance nor as effi- 
cient in work, relatively speaking, as men are. 

I think this is very natural, for the average young woman is not 
(and ought not to be) looking forward to a life spent in industrial 
work. She ought to be looking forward to getting married some day. 

His Statement of the " final outcome of all the changes " 
among the girl inspectors at the Simonds plant was that 
" thirty-five girls did the work formerly done by one hundred 
and twenty," while the " accuracy of the work at the higher 
speed was two-thirds greater than at the former slow speed." ^ 
He attributed these results not only to the scientific selection 
of the girls, to the over-inspection, to scientific time study, and 
to the payment of bonuses for quality as well as quantity, 
but also to what in effect amounted to functional foremanship. 
" Before they finally worked to the best advantage, it was 
found to be necessary to measure the output of each girl as 
often as once every hour, and to send a teacher to each in- 
dividual who was found to be falling behind, to find out 

^ "All young women," he wrote in T/ie Principles (p. 96), "should be given 
two consecutive days of rest (with pay) each month, to be taken whenever 
they may choose." 

^ Ibid., p. 95. 


what was wrong, to straighten her out, and to encourage and 
help her to catch up." Thus in summing up the " good that 
came to these girls " he said that in addition to averaging 
" from 80 to 100 per cent higher wages than they formerly 
received," and having their hours reduced, " each girl was 
made to feel that she was the object of especial care and in- 
terest on the part of the management." 

Here again Taylor believed he proved that it is practicable, 
as he expressed it, to give working people "what they most 
want, namely high wages, and the employers what they most 
want, namely, the maximum output and best quality of work, 
— which means a low labor cost.^'* He improved the quality 
of the product, not only by systemizing the work of the 
inspectors, but also by devising a new method of hardening 
bicycle balls to insure greater uniformity, and by making such 
improvements as that represented by a machine which auto- 
matically threw out balls that were " out of round " and so 
gauged the balls that they did not vary in size more than two 
ten-thousands of an inch. Simonds balls became the standard 
of quality, we are told, even in England. 

Again a brilliant operating success, but again a financial 
disappointment. For this you hardly could blame anyone. 
Certainly not Taylor. As early as February, 1897, he wrote 
to the president of the company: 

Regarding the question of our ball sales, I think that it is most 
desirable that we should have a more careful system in this branch of 
our work. Of course you know I fully appreciate that I have nothing 
to do with this department of the work, but I still venture to make 
the suggestion. It seems to me that we ought to have a complete list 
of all ball purchasers in the United States, These ball purchasers 
should be tabulated so as to show the actual orders which they have 
given in the past and their probable present annual consumption. Such 
a list as this would enable us to take a broad view of the field and 
outline our policy intelligently. 


Whether or not his suggestion of a careful study of the 
market ^ was immediately adopted, it eventually became mani- 
fest that the bicycle craze had led to the erection in various 
parts of the country of plants for the manufacture of bicycle 
balls representing a total capacity greatly in excess of the needs 
of the trade. Thus among these manufacturers there started 
a merry war for extermination. Balls that in April, 1897, 
sold at three dollars a thousand were selling in May, 1898, 
at seventy-five cents a thousand. Taylor wanted to go on. 
His sporting blood was aroused. If others in the field had 
more money than they, he was willing to pit his brains against 
their money. He was sure that the Simonds plant could 
manufacture the cheapest. He believed that when all their 
new machinery got working, they could meet the price of 
seventy-five cents and, far from losing money, make a 
" nice profit." And though, with this remaining to be demon- 
strated, he was unwilling to ask his relatives and friends to 
put more money into the company, he was willing to back up 
his judgment with more of his own money. But the principal 
owners of the business decided in the summer of 1898 to shut 
down, and eventually the business was liquidated. Taylor 
in a letter to one of the persons whom he had induced to invest 
money in the company called this " throwing up the sponge 
in a perfectly ridiculous manner." Yet, on the whole, he did 
not blame these mtn; for, as he remarked sadly, " they were 
financiers, not manufacturers." 

However, in this summer of 1898, he had something else 
to think about besides the closing down of the Simonds works. 
As early as November of the previous year, he had received 
this letter from his old Midvale boss, Russell W. Davenport, 
who now had become second vice-president of the Bethlehem 
Steel Company: 

^ Technical men will observe that Taylor here anticipated one of the most 
important features of modern sales engineering. 


My dear Taylor: — 

I have been requested by our President, Mr. R. P. Linderman, to 
communicate with you in reference to the possibility of arranging 
to secure your services at an early date in connection with the proposed 
establishment of a piece work system in our Machine Shop. 

I should like therefore to hear from you at your early convenience 
as to whether your present engagements will allow you to consider 
this question, and if so when you can make it convenient to come to 
Bethlehem and have a preliminary talk with Mr. Linderman. 



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